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Foot care for diabetes

How to take care of foot in Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by the body’s inability to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins leading to hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose Level). Diabetes may lead to poor circulation and reduced sensation in the feet. Person who have diabetes mellitus often develop minor foot problems that progress to major problems and even amputation. Many foot problems can be prevented or resolved at an early stage.

Check feet daily, including in between toes and look for thickened hard skin, changes in colour and breaks in the skin.

  • Everyday, Person should observe  the sole of the foot in the mirror to find out any abnormality.
  • Wash feet each day in lukewarm water and with a mild soap – check the water temperature, as the person with diabetes may not be able to feel hot or cold temperatures.
  • Avoid using a hot water bottle as you have reduced sensation – bed socks are better.
  • Dry feet carefully, especially between the toes.
  • If the skin is dry, person can apply an emollient or moisturizing cream but avoid the areas between the toes.
  • If diabetic person having corns and callous – Do not use over the counter products to treat them. It would harm the feet.
  • Make sure that socks and shoes are not too tight. It may lead to poor circulation and reduced sensation in the feet.
  • A person who have diabetes mellitus, Always buy footwear in the evening, as foot size is maximum in the evening.
  • Buy shoes that are loose fitting, which can not be harm to feet.
  • Do not buy footwear with laces, sometimes person can not feel the tightness of shoes, so always he should prefer shoes with straps.
  • Use woollen or cotton socks which protect the feet from cold and provide warmness.
  • Wear shoes, which are comfortable and broad fitting, always check inside for stones, sharp objects or ruffled lining
  • Keep blood glucose, blood pressure and blood lipid levels as near normal as possible.
  • Be careful while clipping of your nails. Cut them after bath and don’t cut deep. Cut straight across or with a slight curve following the shape of the toe and filed smooth to prevent pressure or cutting adjacent toes.

Signs before take Medical Help

Act immediately if you spot the following danger signs and seek immediate medical advice:

  • Swelling
  • Changes in colour of the skin
  • Sores or cuts that do not heal
  • Skin that feels hot to touch
  • Difficulty in moving the foot

These could indicate poor circulation, an infection, the early stages of an ulcer or gangrene.

Always Remember

  • Start slowly and then increase your speed gradually.
  • Stop, if you feel pain and assess if you can safely resume, then reduce the intensity or range.
  • Avoid exercising, when you are acutely ill, including when suffering from a cold or flu.
  • If your activity programme is interrupted for more than two weeks, begin again as in the ‘Start-up’ section.
  • Examine your feet , front and back, before and after exercise.
  • Weight training exercised are advised not more than 2-3 times a week only in physically capable patients
  • Do not walk very fast if you have neuropathy (decreased sensation or burning pain in feet)   Divide your walk in 2 -3 times a day with 10-15 min walk at moderate speed each time.
  • If you have an eye problem , don’t walk in dim light. Take help of other people as and when needed.

Stop exercising-Contact your Doctor

Stop exercising and contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Muscle or joint pain that do not resolve with rest
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath
  • Light headedness, dizziness, or new difficulty balancing