Being diagnosed with diabetes brings with it a whole trainload worth of possible health consequences. There are now so many things to consider and pay attention to. One of the biggest is making sure to keep up with your diabetic foot care. Failure to do so could result in some very devastating problems.
It is important to understand that your feet are already at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to receiving excellent blood flow, simply by being the farthest part of you from your heart. It takes more effort for the cells in your feet to receive the nutrients and growth factors they need to function and repair themselves. Any impediment to your circulation, which comes often with diabetes, tends to start affecting your feet first.
How Diabetes Damages the Feet
Two primary factors contribute to diabetic foot complications: poor circulation and peripheral neuropathy.
Since high sugar levels cause chronic inflammation, this can then result in poor circulation. After a while, poor circulation will deprive your lower limbs and feet of the oxygen and nutrients they need to fight infections and repair wounds.
With peripheral neuropathy, people have had nerve damage to different parts of their body with the most common being the lower limbs. This leads to a loss of feeling in the feet, so a person cannot feel if they have a cut, bruise, or wound on their feet.
Dry Feet for Diabetics Can Lead to Foot Complications
If you have diabetes, you may notice that the skin on your feet becomes extremely dry. This can lead to serious issues, and it must be treated right away.
You must treat even the smallest cut before it leads to serious issues. If you have a cut, wash it with soap and water, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover it with sterile gauze.
Symptoms to watch for include:
- Cracks in the feet or sores can occur and they may not heal. If you have cracked skin or sores on your feet that are not healing, consult with our podiatrists for assistance. Diabetics need to get any sores that do not heal evaluated immediately.
- Heel fissures occur when dry skin on the feet and heels crack, bleed, and create an opening that can let bacteria in and cause infections. Often, heel fissures are quite deep and can lead to hospitalization or amputation in serious cases. It is essential to treat a heel fissure as soon as it occurs for this reason. When the fissures heal, you can begin a proper, daily moisturizing routine at home.
While it is important to keep feet moisturized, you always want to ensure they are thoroughly dry and not holding any excess moisture. This is because keeping feet wet can lead to excess bacteria or fungal infections. This is especially serious if there is an open wound.
How to Treat Dry Feet at Home
Practice Good Foot Hygiene
Wash your feet well every day. Be sure to use warm water, not hot water, as hot water can dry out your skin. Choose a mild soap that will not irritate. When you’re done, dry them thoroughly to reduce your risk for issues from microscopic organisms, like bacteria and fungi.
Remove Dead Skin Before Moisturizing
A good practice to implement before moisturizing is to use a pumice stone to remove dead skin from the thicker parts of your feet. You can use this tool to file dead skin, allowing moisturizers the ability to penetrate deeply and more effectively. Adding a foot scrub will assist with removing dead skin and softening the feet. Be careful not to cut your foot.
Hydrated Your Feet, but Not Too Much
To reduce your risk of developing dry, cracked skin, use a high-quality moisturizer. If you are using a lotion, look for ingredients like jojoba oil and shea butter, as these can penetrate through hardened skin and are deeply moisturizing. Also, try to avoid skin irritants such as fragrances and other harsh chemicals.
Petroleum jelly is a great option when applied in a thin layer. Apply it to the tops, bottoms, and sides of your feet, but avoid the area in between your toes, as that can also lead to a fungal infection from excess wetness.
When you’re applying the moisturizer, remember to massage it in a circular motion with your fingertips to promote circulation.
Use Cotton Socks
Once you have finished the above routine, you can put on a pair of cotton socks to help lock in the moisture.
Contact Fixing Feet Institute Today for More Help!
The big problem is that the complications of diabetes can take hold very slowly. You may not always notice a problem until it has worsened. The sensation in the feet may diminish so slowly that you won’t realize for some time that it has changed.
That is why we and many other podiatrists recommend starting diabetic foot care routines now. At Fixing Feet Institute, we’ll work with you to prevent complications by creating an easy-to-follow care plan. You can take steps to reduce your risks before the complications of diabetes have the chance to sneak up on you.
Whether you require urgent care or want to schedule a routine checkup, don’t hesitate to get in touch today at (623) 584-5556 or through our online form on our website.