As most people with diabetes, my feet are often troubling me. If I don’t treat the minor injuries, they can become big issues. And happy feet are very important to me. Every part of your body can be affected by diabetes. This includes the skin, mouth, eyes and feet. About half of the people with diabetes, including myself, experience foot problems which, if untreated, can cause serious complications. I really value ‘happy feet’; I walk around most of the day and it would be really annoying if foot problems got in the way of my daily life style.
Let’s take a look at how can diabetes affect your feet. First, diabetes can damage your nerves. When the nerves in your feet are damaged, you might not feel pain. This is called ‘diabetic neuropathy’. When you have a cut in your feet and you don’t feel pain, your wound could get worse and become infected. Also, damaged nerves in the foot may affect the foot muscles. This could cause the foot to be lined out in your shoe in a way that too much pressure is created in one area of the foot causing ulcers.
Second, diabetes affects the blood flow in your body. Poor blood flow in arms and legs is called ‘peripheral vascular disease’. When you have a sore or cut, it takes longer to heal without good blood flow. A simple cut can develop into a nasty infection and may even lead to gangrene.
Of course, we don’t expect anyone to be tapping away like the penguin in the animated movie ‘Happy feet’, but there are several things you can do to take good care of your feet when you have diabetes. For example:
– Wash your feet every day and dry them carefully, especially between your toes.
– Check your bare feet every day for cuts, spots, swelling or blisters. You can do this when you apply a foot product. If you discover a wound, see a doctor.
– Keep the skin of your feet soft and smooth. You can use a special product such as DiaClin FootFoam.
– Trim your toenails and keep them nice and short.
– Never walk barefoot and wear comfortable shoes.
– Protect your feet from hot and cold. Don’t walk barefooted on a hot beach or put your feet in hot water. You can burn your feet without even noticing.
– Try to be active and exercise. You can also do some exercising when sitting down. Just wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for a few minutes and do this two or three times a day.
If you bear in mind the simple guidelines above, you’ll come a long way for healthy and happy feet. Happy tapping!