Each winter in the US, approximately 15-20% of people who are suffering with diabetes end up in the hospital because of a foot ulcer or infection. These foot problems lead to amputation, in some cases. This is the reason why diabetic patients are recommended to use the foot pillow heel protector for effective and extensive comfort and relief. Increasing the risk of a diabetic foot problem, winter moisture, cold, and dryness can easily cause numbness and decreased circulation.
The following are some effective and essential tips to keep your feet healthy through the winter and avoid problems:
1) Inspect Your Feet Every Day:
You need to have a daily protocol for foot inspection and stick to it if you have diabetes. At all the pressure areas of your feet and between your toes, you need to look carefully. In the skin, discharge, changes in color, changes in odor and/or painful corns or calluses, inspect for any breaks. Any changes you find, consult with your doctor. For any stains and your shoes for any stones or rough edges, make sure to inspect your diabetic socks. Ask a friend, family member or medically-trained person to help with your diabetic foot care, if you have trouble seeing your feet closely.
2) Choose The Right Footwear:
Winter cold and dampness combined with decreased circulation in your feet can increase your risk for a diabetic foot ulcer. Make sure your winter shoes and boot provide warmth, protection from snow and ice, and proper padding for avoiding this. Also, make sure they are roomy enough not to constrict blood flow to your feet. Choose the right socks and avoid synthetic shoe or boot materials that lock in moisture (your feet need to breathe, even in the cold), you also need to choose knee pillow for knee pain for added relief. I recommend wool socks that provide cushioning protection and warmth. Under your socks to wick away moisture, you might also consider wearing polypropylene stockings.
3) Keep Your Feet Dry:
Sloshing through wet snow or icy puddles can be lead to dangerously damp feet for a diabetic person. Moisture that collects for too long between your socks and feet, as well as between your toes, allows potentially problematic bacteria to grow. You need to dry them carefully and completely, including between your toes, when your feet get wet from winter weather. For areas that are pale in color, which could mean they still contain too much moisture and haven’t been thoroughly dried, inspect your feet properly. Also, it’s vital to change out of wet socks as soon as possible.
4) Moisturizing Your Feet is Essential:
Diabetic nerve damage and poor circulation can cause the decreased function of the moisturizing glands of your feet. Be on the lookout for red and shiny areas when you perform your daily foot inspection. For diabetic foot care, ask your doctor or podiatrist to recommend a good moisturizer. Avoid leaving too much between your toes as you use this moisturizer after bathing your feet every day. You can also use heel protectors for feet.
5) Trim Your Toenails:
When your toenails are untrimmed or infected, it causes infections and ulcers leading up to amputation of the feet. If you have no idea on how to trim your toenails then ask your doctor or podiatrist on how to trim them correctly or make an appointment to have him/her trim them. If you are trimming them yourself, Firstly soak your feet to soften the nails, then cut them straight across. Nails that are thick, crumbly or discolored should not be ignored and may need professional care.
6) Never Burn Your Feet:
Nerve damage in your feet caused by diabetes can make keeping them warm in winter dangerous because you may not feel when they are getting dangerously hot. When using electric blankets, hot soaks, heating pads or warming your feet on a radiator, you need to be quite careful as you could seriously burn your feet but not knowing it. Always check the water temperature with your hands or a bath thermometer before putting your feet in. It can cause a major foot problem with a second or third-degree burn.
7) Control Your Blood Sugar:
One of the most important aspects of diabetic foot care is in keeping your diabetes under control. They are one of the first places insufficient diabetes control will show up, as your feet absorb much of the weight and daily wear and tear of your body. Work with your doctor for successful ways that will control your blood sugar. Also, monitor your diet, maintain your weight (maybe lose weight), exercise regularly and avoid smoking. This way, during the winter and all through the year, your feet—and you—will be healthier.