Diabetes is considered to be a global epidemic. It’s a metabolic disease that has no permanent cure. Uncontrolled blood sugar level can cause organ damage including skin disorders. Diabetic neuropathy is a disease caused by diabetes that can affect nerve endings located in our foot. Ulcerative blister, gangrene, and thickening of the foot’s skin are some common foot skin disorders for diabetic patients. In a rare case, amputation is required if the infection spreads and persists for a long period of discharging fluids. Precautions early on are the best way to manage diabetic foot issues.
If you would like to learn more about diabetes in Brampton, you can contact our Brampton foot clinic, and one of our team would be happy to consult with you.
A common approach may not be suitable for everyone, as we have different skin types and textures, respectively dry and oily skin. This is better to consult a skin specialist to know your skin type and take measures accordingly. If you have dry foot skin, use medicated moisturizer or if you have oily skin try to keep your feet as moderately dry as possible, excessively dry skin can also lead to skin problems.
People with diabetes have a risk of developing diabetic neuropathy, a condition where it is difficult to sense the temperature correctly, thus risking foot damage because of not reacting to hot and cold in a normal fashion. Avoid walking on the beach or hot surfaces as there is a risk of burning the skin on your feet. The cold can be similarly dangerous for the skin of your feet. Checking the temperature with a thermometer in a bath, hot tub or hot spring before entering. If you don’t have a device to check the temperature, use your elbow to check the degree of heat.
Exercising regularly helps diabetes in control. Increased blood sugar level often prevents adequate blood flow to the different parts of the body. Non-impacting foot exercise is very helpful for blood circulation. Low foot impact exercise may include something like walking. Should walking be difficult, massage is also considered a passive form of exercise. You can massage your feet by hand to increase blood flow or have someone else assist to massage your feet.
This is probably the most important part of self-care approach to the prevention of ailments caused by diabetes. According to many Endocrinologists, diabetes is a silent killer without any symptoms at the initial stage. The uncontrolled sugar level in the blood may cause diabetic neuropathy that may damage nerves of your feet permanently. High blood glucose level reduces the body’s natural healing mechanisms. In this case, prevention can avoid unnecessary treatments. Use of a blood glucose monitor to take periodic readings will help you manage your blood sugar levels.
Eating fresh fruits and salads on a regular basis boosts the immunity system and helps recover from diabetic foot symptoms. Endocrinologists can provide special diet charts for diabetic patients to assist with managing appropriate food quantities.
Wash your feet regularly with clean lukewarm water. You can use mild or medicated soap. Do not use harsh soap and hot water as these may be harmful to the skin on your feet. Immediately use a towel to absorb the remaining water on the skin and let it dry at room temperature. This will prevent the growth of microorganisms. Moisturize the skin. Before washing doesn’t forget to test the temperature of the water with your hands or elbow, because if you have already developed diabetic neuropathy, your foot may not be able to determine the exact temperature of the water.
Cracked heels are often common in diabetic patients. Keep notice if there is any hot spot on the soles, toes or in-between the toe-joints. Hot spots are the primary symbol of a blister or other skin-related ailment. This condition may appear if you have been suffering from diabetes for a long period of time. Use a mirror to get a full and clear view of the sole. If you find any swollen part or red spot, immediately consult a dermatologist who is specialized in diabetic skin treatment.
Choosing the right footwear is essential for protecting your feet. Select footwear that fits properly and is comfortable. Check for the hardness of sole. Ideally look to purchase soft soled shoes because hard soles tend to apply more pressure to the feet. A high-quality soft sole shoe can offer the maximum cushioning effect. Footwear should be well ventilated to prevent excess accumulation of sweat, which can promote the growth of bacteria or fungus. A good quality walking shoe along with other sportswear is a good option for diabetic patients as these tend to be made of high quality perforated fabric that allows the shoe to breathe. This is helpful for those with oily skin or whose feet tend to sweat. Avoid the use of cheap nylon-made shoes that do not tend to allow for ventilation.
Always wear shoes and socks even when you are at home. Walking without protection can create unnecessary friction or trauma to the feet. Also walking without foot protection with a less sensitive foot can also increase your risk of foot damage without your awareness. Avoid the use of nylon or polyester socks. Use good quality cotton socks as they tend to allow for better ventilation and do a better job of cushioning the feet. Synthetic socks accumulate moisture and are not good for damaged skin.
Cutting and trimming your toenails on regular basis can prevent an extended toenail from rupturing the skin. Bacteria or fungus can also grow under untrimmed nails which may lead to infection in the future. Trim toenails after bathing when the toenails are soft. Be careful not to cut the skin during trimming of cutting toenails. Avoid cutting them too closely to the skin. Utilize assistance of a podiatrist if necessary.
Hardening and thickening of foot skin are common among those who are suffering from diabetes. If you notice any red spot, sores, patch or swollen area avoid itching, which can develop into skin-related issues. Consult a specialist and utilize any medications as prescribed.
Avoid damp and filthy environments. Quit smoking or excessive consumption of alcohol if possible. Always avoid corrosive chemical exposure like toilet cleaners or acids. Always keep your feet clean. Special attention should be taken in winter. You can use aloe vera gel if your doctor permits. This herbal gel can protect your feet from bacterial infection and it can soften your skin.
Jagdeep completed her Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto in Human Anatomy and Biology. She then proceeded to complete a graduate program in chiropody at the Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences.
Jagdeep is a Chiropodist licensed by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. In addition, she is a member of the Ontario Society of Chiropodists (OSC) and Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine (CFPM). Her participation in these organizations has allowed her to expand her chiropodial/podiatric medicine knowledge through continuing education courses and forming community partnerships with health professionals.
Jagdeep offers a full range of chiropodial/podiatric treatments with areas of expertise in diabetic foot care, biomechanics including custom foot orthotics, and soft tissue surgery at The Foot Clinic in Brampton, Ontario.
You can also visit her website here.