Diabetic foot care is not just about addressing any developing problems but taking preventative action to help keep those problems from developing in the first place.
That means the best time to take care of your feet is now, and tomorrow, and the next day. You don’t want to wait for problems to happen. It is often not too late to treat them, but each problem nevertheless is a risk that you often don’t need to take.
We have previously discussed why diligent foot care is so important if you have diabetes. This time, we will look deeper into what such a commitment may look like. It might feel daunting to look at, but most of the best things you can do to help your feet are quite simple. All it takes is the commitment to turn short tasks into healthy habits.
Please keep in mind, however, that the checklists below may not be exhaustive for all diabetic patients. These are only general ideas, and you may have specific needs or circumstances that change your overall recommendations.
Daily Diabetic Foot Care
What you do each day can be some of the most important factors in preventing complications or identifying them early enough for them to have little or no impact on your health. Do these daily:
Inspect your feet daily. We can never stress this enough. Look and feel along your feet for anything out of the ordinary. This includes sores, cuts, blisters, ingrown toenails, warts, calluses, and anything else that simply shouldn’t be there. If you find something, call and let us know. We can advise you on your next steps.
Clean your feet using warm water and mild, unscented soap. Never use a soap that causes your feet irritation or dryness. Dry your feet gently but thoroughly each time, making sure to get any moisture between your toes.
Moisturize your feet to fight dryness and cracking. Cracks in the feet – even those too small to see – can provide opportunities for fungus, bacteria, and other organisms to get into the skin. As with soap, opt for a moisturizer that is effective but does not cause irritation. Do not apply between the toes, as it is too easy for moisture to become trapped there and cause more harm than good.
Check the insides of your shoes for any foreign materials before wearing them. You might not realize if something is rubbing or poking against your skin.
Weekly Diabetic Foot Care
Weekly tasks tend to take on more of a “general maintenance” vibe but are still quite important. Do this weekly:
Trim your nails properly. This means trimming them straight across with a nail clipper and never greatly curving the ends. Rounded corners can increase your risk of ingrown toenails. If you have sharp corners, you can lightly take them down with an emery board. Also, never cut your nails too short. Always leave some white on the edges, as going further can risk damage to your nail bed.
Address calluses. The way to approach calluses can vary greatly depending on your condition, so please seek our recommendations and follow them thoroughly. In some milder cases, you may be able to carefully address the dead skin yourself; but in others, it will be much safer to have us take care of your calluses professionally. In either case, calluses are a sign of an underlying friction-causing problem we will need to identify and take care of.
Review your walking spaces. It can be easy for clutter to develop around the areas you have the most foot traffic, and that can increase the risk of damaging trips, falls, and stubs. Take a moment each week to make sure everything is in order and not in the way of your feet.
Annual Diabetic Foot Care
At least once yearly, you should come to see us for a routine diabetic foot care checkup. Depending on your circumstances, we might recommend that you do so twice a year or more.
While there is so much you can do to protect your feet on your own, there are still matters that can only be reviewed and addressed professionally. We can monitor the effects of diabetes on your circulation and your nerve health in ways you can’t do at home and also have a running history of your foot care (such as every time you have notified us of something you found during a daily exam).
This is all invaluable information when it comes to preventative care. We have a much better chance of identifying developing problems and addressing them early enough to have the best positive impacts on your health and mobility. We can also work with other medical professionals on your diabetic care team to ensure we are all on the same page when it comes to your treatment plans.
Steady Diabetic Foot Care Now Can Make for a Freer Future
We know that habits can be difficult to form sometimes, and it’s not exactly fun to make commitments based on health concerns. However, we can assure you it is all extremely worth it.
No matter where you may be in your life’s journey with diabetes, taking steps now to safeguard your foot and ankle health can help protect your feet against new and worse complications in the future – many of which can be outright devastating.
We’re here to help. Schedule an appointment by calling our office in Surprise or by filling out our online contact form.