Risk Factors for your Diabetic Feet:
The risk of diabetic foot complications is increased by not properly managing your blood sugar levels, but also by other lifestyle factors:
Smoking: Along with diabetes, contributes to reduced blood flow to your feet
Inactivity: Not being regularly active will allow your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, influencing the effect of diabetes on your body.
Inadequate Diet: Eating foods that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates will further contribute to an increase in your blood sugar levels. For further information regarding diet, speak to a qualified dietitian.
Collectively, these lifestyle factors contribute to reduced nerve sensations and blood flow to your feet. Therefore, it becomes important to check your feet daily to ensure that if there are any blood or nerve impairments, they are noticed early before serious complications arise.
Self – Check List:
Your daily checklist should split up into lists that inspect any damage to your nerves or blood flow separately:
1. Nerve Sensation:
- – Numbness or ‘pins and needles’ feeling to your toes. If this is constant, monitor it over a period of time to see if it worsens.
- – Any cuts or wounds that you notice but did not feel arise, should be dressed with antiseptic and a bandage immediately. This may indicate that your sensation to your toes is reducing as your skin does not have the protective sensation as it did previously.
2. Blood Flow:
- – Cold feelings in your feet
- – Pain or cramps in your calf muscles, noticeable in the morning, night or after a constant number of steps. If the latter occurs, you should have your blood flow checked by a podiatrist.
- – Cuts or wounds that take longer to heal than normal.
- – Corns and calluses that arise that have not been present before.
Along with your self-check list, other tasks can be performed to ensure that your foot health is in the best condition, in relation to your diabetes:
Regular podiatry visits: Seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis will ensure that a health professional is not only constantly monitoring your blood and nerve supply but cleaning your skin and nails. This will ensure that your feet feel comfortable and prevent any complications that may arise from untreated ingrown nails or prolonged corns and calluses.
Suitable footwear and socks: Avoid wearing shoes and socks that are tight. Wear shoes with a round toe box and seamless upper that will reduce pressure on your toes and nails.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Particularly in winter, avoid placing your feet next to a heater. You have an increased risk of developing wounds in extreme temperatures, particularly if your nerve sensation is reduced, you may be unaware that a wound is developing.
Moisturise your feet daily: This will ensure that your skin and calluses and intact, protective your feet from any damage. Speak to your podiatrist about the type of moisturising cream best suited for your feet.