Diabetic Foot Care
For a loved one diagnosed with diabetes, foot care is essential. As the disease progresses, feeling in the foot may gradually become lost. This becomes an issue when wounds or infections can’t be felt by the person living with diabetes. Quality diabetic foot care must be a caregiver’s focus to prevent further and more complicated health concerns.
Proper fitting footwear and socks are the first place to start. Improper fitting shoes cause calluses, blisters and red, sore areas that a loved one may not even realize are occurring. The reason that it is so important to catch these symptoms early on, or prevent them altogether, is because of the circulation problems caused by diabetes. If antibiotics would be needed to treat any infection, it’s more challenging for them to work effectively. Caregiver knowledge and execution of preventive measures are the first defense for their diabetic loved one’s foot care.
The Top Ten
Here’s a top ten list of diabetic foot care tips:
1) Blood sugar
The number one thing for any loved one to do is keep their blood sugar within a target range.
A caregiver can help establish a routine for foot health checks. Check tops and bottoms every day. Red spots, cuts, blisters, swelling are all warning signs of a more serious problem.
3) Daily care
In addition to daily skin checks, foot care is as important. Use warm water for washing (not hot) and dry feet well, especially the in-between toe areas. A thin coat of lotion keeps the skin soft, as does a pumice stone which treats calluses and corns.
4) Trim toenails
They should be trimmed carefully with clippers, not scissors. Caregivers should cut nails straight across and away from the quick to avoid drawing blood.
While this may be hard for a loved one with diabetes and foot concerns, a physician can help design a program that works best for the individual. Exercise is important to control the disease and for overall health.
6) Stop Smoking
Smoking constricts blood vessels and gives people higher heart rates. For a diabetic, this is another challenge to their already stressed bodies.
7) Properly fitting footwear
As discussed previously, correct footwear is essential to the foot health of someone living with diabetes. Compression socks are also a way to maximize circulation. Walking barefoot is not recommended for a loved one with diabetes. Shoes and socks also help maintain a steady temperature in the feet.
8) Feet up
Whenever seated, a loved one with diabetes and circulation issues should keep their feet elevated. Wiggling toes and feet is a recommended exercise during these times.
9) Eliminate Obstacles
Keep a loved one’s living area clean. The less chance for falls and injuries, the better.
10) Start now!
Proper foot care for people with diabetes is not something to put off until there’s a problem. If a caregiver does notice changes in the condition of their loved one’s feet, medical advice should be sought immediately. Prevention, however, is something that can begin today!
Today’s Caregiver magazine (caregiver.com), launched in 1995, is the first national magazine for all family and professional caregivers. Each issue includes articles on vital caregiving issues and caregiving resources. Cover interviews include Debbie Reynolds, Dixie Carter, Valerie Harper, Della Reese and Clay Aiken, among many others. © Caregiver.com, Inc.