Caring for your feet in Winter: 6-tips for Diabetics

As we’ve said before diabetic foot care is always important, but winter can make keeping your feet healthy an even bigger challenge. According to Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) Michael Shlonsky; "Winter moisture, cold, and dryness increase the risk of a diabetes foot problem". On average, 15-20% of people with diabetes will end up in hospital due to a foot ulcer or infection; making good footcare vital. These tips can help you care of your feet during these cold winter months!

1. Daily check

"Anyone with diabetes needs to have a daily protocol for foot inspection," Dr Shlonsky advises. Look carefully at the ball of your foot, the heel, and any areas of your feet you’ve had issues with in the past, as well as between your toes. What are you looking for?  “Any breaks in the skin, discharge, changes in colour, changes in odour, and painful corns or calluses, saysDr. Shlonsky. "Also inspect your socks for any stains and your shoes for any stones or rough edges." Remember, informed is armed, and you can’t do anything you don’t know about. If you find any of the above, a notice a change in foot health, anything different or unexpected, make sure you take it to your GP of Diabetes Educator.

2. Keep those feet moisturised!

One symptom of diabetes is ‘anhidrosis’ a reduced sweating the in feet caused by a decreased functioning of the moisturising glands of your feet. "Dry winter heat, like sitting in the car with the heater blasting at your feet, can make dryness worse and lead to skin break-down," warns Shlonsky. "Watch out for red, shiny areas when you do your daily inspection." Ask your doctor to recommend a good moisturizer for diabetes foot care, and use it after bathing your feet every day. Our recommendation is DIA-BALM; THE Specialist Diabetic Foot Care Cream. Australian made and owned, DIA-BALM was designed by LaCorium Health specifically for the treatment and prevention of dry, cracking skin so commonly seen by diabetics. It is scientifically proven and so easy to use. 
DIA-BALM dissolves dry dead skin while helping healthy skin maintain hydration, making it more flexible and better able to keep out infections. DIA-BALM can also be used to prevent the development of dry, cracked skin as well as maintain healthy skin, so don’t hesitate to head to your local chemist or look online to keep your skin nice and healthy.

 

3. Wear the right shoes and socks

For those of us with diabetes, cold and dampness combined with decreased circulation can increase your risk for developing a foot ulcer. You can learn more about foot ulcers and what you can do about them by clicking here, but the need-to-know is that they can be life-threatening and lead to lower limb amputation. Making sure shoes and socks provide warmth, keep out water, don’t rub your skin damagingly, and are roomy enough not to constrict blood flow to your feet. When looking at purchasing new shoes or socks, avoid materials that lock in moisture and don't forget about choosing the right socks. Glucology Diabetic Copper Based Winter Socks wick moisture away from the skin and have copper woven into the material utilising an awesome Australian-patented technology. These socks so efficacious that they have been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association as a Class I Medical Device. They kill 99.9% of bacteria and fungi that cause odour, are hypoallergenic, actively draw water away from the skin and actually improve the appearance of skin.

https://ibdmedical.com.au/collections/glucology/products/full-length-glucology-winter-socks

4. Keep your feet as dry as possible

Even with the best shoes, sloshing through puddles can lead to dangerously damp feet. Without an antibacterial agent, moisture that collects between your socks and your feet and between your toes can invite help unwanted bacteria to gather. When your feet do get wet, you need to dry them carefully and gently. When you do this, have a second check of your feet looking for "areas that are pale in colour, which could mean too much saturation," Shlonsky says. Remember to change out of wet shoes as soon as possible. 

5. Trim your nails

Overly long or infected toenails can be are a real source of infections and ulcers. For people with touch or thick toenails, you can soak your feet first to soften the nails to make it easier. When you trim, always try to cut straight across. If trimming your nails is something you find tricky, get help! Don't be afraid to ask your Diabetes Educator or HCP for help or advice. Also be on the lookout for "Nails that are thick, crumbly, or discoloured" as these may need professional care.

 

6. Keep monitoring your blood sugar

All diabetics know the importance of keeping a close eye on your blood sugar levels, and it is an important part of diabetic foot care. According to Dr Shlonsky, your feet are “one of the first places poor diabetic control will show up”. So remember to work with your doctor to control your sugar and be sure to watch your diet, maintain your weight, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. Your feet will thank you!

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.

 

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3 comments

  • I cant get my hands down to my feet ; cant put on shoes/sox . thank goodness for thongs and slippers

    jeff
  • Recipe for Lunch and dinner and sweets

    Rosemarie Martinovic
  • I have been a T1 Diabetic for 55yrs. I get my nails trimmed every 8 weeks & Never walk bare foot. So far all is going great 👍🏻🎉👋👋👋👋🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    Sue Holtham

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