Foot care for individuals with Diabetes is important at all times, however with the cooler weather approaching us, a change in our routine is imminent and can pose a risk to our foot health.
Diabetic affected feet can present with altered sensation and a reduction in blood circulation. As a result, cuts, wounds, blisters, and other foot lesions, may not be causing any pain and your may inaccurately determine hot-cold temperatures. Additionally, a reduction in blood flow can delay healing. When poorly managed, infection may develop and the risk of ulcerations rise with the potential to lead to amputations. Prevention of Diabetic Foot Related Complications is always the best management and here are a few ways to help your feet survive the winter months.
Check your feet daily
Since neural sensation is altered, it is important to check your feet by looking at them and feeling for any changes. If you find it difficult to see the bottom, a mirror can be helpful or ask a relative to assist.
Keep your feet dry
Dry thoroughly between your toes and avoid leaving shoes outside in the winter frost where they can become damp. Moisture between the toes is a perfect environment for fungal infections to develop.
Excessive heat can dehydrate the skin and can cause burns to occur. Avoid sitting directly in front of a heat source such as heaters, car foot heater and open fireplaces. Also monitor water temperatures when bathing. Instead use socks and slippers to keep your feet warm.
Soaking your feet in excessively warm or hot water also reduces skin moisture and can cause macerated skin. Minimise soaking to luke warm water and always apply a moisturiser after.
Apply an emollient every day to restore foot moisture all over the feet avoiding the spaces in between the toes.
Keep your nails well-trimmed. Long, irregular nails, especially in enclosed footwear, can cause trauma to the surrounding skin. It is always best to have your nails managed by a Podiatrist if you have Diabetes.
Podiatrists are trained to perform neurovascular assessments to assess your risk of Diabetic foot related complications and can appropriately determine a management plan specific for your needs.