Now that the warmer weather is well and truly behind us and cooler temperatures are here, it's essential for people living with diabetes to check their foot care routine to ensure continued comfortable and healthy feet.
Here are 8 foot care tips for a safe and healthy Autumn and Winter:
Wear thick, breathable socks that wick away moisture.
2. Keep Feet Dry
Feet that are allowed to remain damp may develop fungal and bacterial infections. After bathing or after getting your feet wet outdoors, make sure you dry your feet thoroughly. Pay particular attention to between the toes where athlete's foot infections commonly develop.
Wear boots or shoes with a rounded toebox that allows the toes to wiggle comfortably. The footwear should fit properly so the foot feels stable and secure.
Choose leather or suede over synthetic material - natural material allow air circulation to the foot.
Look for footwear with a good sole and adequate traction.
Boots and shoes should provide sufficient warmth, diabetic neuropathy may prevent the person from realising their feet are becoming cold.
4. Foot Soaks
Soaking the feet should only be done occasionally for a short period, say 10 minutes to prevent over-drying or waterlogging of the skin.
Ensure the water is luke- warm only (90 degrees fahrenheit/ 32 degrees celcius), use a thermometer or ask a non- diabetic person to test the water first.
5. Hot Baths, Heated Massagers, Hot Water Bottles and Heat Pads
These methods of heating the feet can be troublesome for the diabetic person. If neuropathy is present, diabetics have a reduced ability to feel hot temperatures on the feet.
Hot baths, heating pads and the like are extremely drying to the skin, can damage tissue and can even cause burns.
If you want to warm your cold feet, pat them dry - don't rub, slip on some warm wooly socks and wrap them in a blanket.
6. Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise!
During the Winter months it is essential to use a good quality foot cream. Keeping the feet moisturised prevents heel cracks that can become painful and prone to infection.
Avoid moisturising between the toes to avoid athlete's foot.
7. Check Your Feet
Inspect your feet daily for swelling, heel cracks, dryness, open sores, cuts, bruises, blisters corns and calluses.
Check for peeling and dampness between the toes, signs of athlete's foot.
Use a hand- held mirror to check the soles of the feet.
8. Visit Your Chiropodist/ Podiatrist Every 6 - 8 Weeks
Maintain your regular appointments with your fully qualified and hcpc registered chiropodist/ podiatrist who will be able to trim and smooth your toenails and gently remove hard skin and corns.