Taking care of your feet doesn't have to be a big drama- and you can prevent a big drama by taking care of them.
Here at IBD Medical, we've written again and again about the importance of caring for your feet, especially if you’re one of the 1.7 million Australians with diabetes. If you do live with diabetes, you need to be aware that your feet are really susceptible to the condition. Your feet could be affected by decreased blood supply, nerve damage, dryness and cracking. What makes keeping your feet healthy extra difficult is that you may not know that something is wrong!
A person with nerve damage may not realise they have cuts or blisters, making it impossible to care for your feet properly. Blisters and cuts that are unminded can lead to infections and ulceration. On average, 15-20% of people with diabetes will end up in hospital due to a foot ulcer or infection; making good footcare vital. Be on the lookout for these 3 common effects of diabetes on feet:
Intensely Dry Skin:
When blood glucose levels remain high, our body loses fluids, leading to dry skin. When the skin becomes very dry it itches, cracks, and bleeds which provides the perfect opportunity for fungi and bacteria to enter the wound and infect your feet.
High blood glucose levels are known to damage blood vessels, affecting their ability to transport blood to our feet. This can mean slower healing of blisters or even minor cuts and wounds. The longer a cut is open the more likely a infection is to get in, so maybe sure you keep cuts and wounds clean and change dressings regularly.
Nerves are essentially the network of the body. They carry signals and messages to and from the brain from the rest of your body. High blood sugar interferes with the ability of nerves to send these signals, a condition called neuropathy. High blood sugar weakens the walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that supply the nerves with oxygen and nutrients. This causes damage to the nerves in feet- among others. Numbness or a tingling sensations are among the most commonly reported by people with diabetes. While this may not sound serious, it can cause serious complications if not cared for in the proper manner and especially because it can mask the signs of infection and discomfort in the feet.
People with diabetes are more susceptible to infections in the feet for a host of reasons. First, because of the prolonged healing time compared to non-diabetics. Second, because cracking feet are a great opportunity for bacteria and fungi to cause infections. Thirdly, because high blood sugar is known to weaken a person’s immune system. These factors mean that you need to be extra cautious if you live with diabetes. And with spring is approaching, and allergy-causing microorganisms are in the air it's even easier for infection to strike! Keep reading for the 3 tell-tale signs of infection to help keep yourself safe.
If you're looking for an easy way to help your feet click below to check our Glucology Diabetic Copper-Based Socks, designed for diabetics.
How to care for your feet
Be on the lookout for signs of infection:
The first thing to do is to examine your feet regularly. Be on the lookout for dryness, cracking, and signs of infection. Because nerve damage can make it difficult to feel the effects of infections, you should always be looking for these three crucial signs: Heat, Swelling, and Redness. If you see any combination of these signs make an appointment to see your doctor for a Certified Diabetes Educator.
In infections that have progressed further, you may also notice discolouration in your feet and make sure to monitor any cuts or injuries that don't seem to be healing. If you do see your doctor, ask for an examination of your feet for evidence of nerve damage or poor circulation.
Keep skin moisturised:
Moisturise your feet regularly using the right moisturisers and foot creams. Check out our Dia-Balm that has proven positive and quick effects on dry skin. It is important to apply any forms of creams and moisturisers after showering, and before bed. If you're looking for a cream designed for people with diabetes, CLICK HERE for a sample of Dia-Balm: THE specialist Diabetic Foot Care Cream. Avoid hot showers that wash precious oils from your skin, making it harder to keep skin hydrated.
ONE MORE THING!
We know that that with spring coming and the weather changing us Aussies' will be keen to break out their thongs and expose our feet to the summer sun. While it can be hard to resist, you may want to think twice if you're living with diabetes. Thongs can cause blisters between the toes from rubbing against the hard rubber, and prolonged exposure to the sun will further dry-out the tender skin on your feet.
Our Services and Blog posts are NOT intended to substitute any professional medical advice or treatment and are offered for informational purposes only. Remember to always work with your doctor before changing anything about your medication or diabetes management. The above information is NOT medical advice.