How to provide diabetic skin and foot care?
You can provide diabetic skin and foot care by following your doctor’s recommendations and by using certain special products, mainly creams and lotions, and socks and shoes. You can also prevent skin and foot problems related to diabetes by practicing good personal care habits. High blood glucose depletes the body of fluids, drying the skin and making it itchy and prone to cracking. Germs can enter through the cracks in the skin and cause an infection, which is worsened by the fact that high blood sugar feeds germs. Additionally, diabetes-related nerve damage reduces sweat, which is a natural skin moisturizer.
The basics of diabetic skin care include washing with a mild soap, rinsing and drying well, especially in places where water may accumulate, like the armpits, under the breasts, the groin, and between the toes. Apply lotions or creams to your skin after washing in order to keep it moistened. We recommend Ameriderm Laboratories DermaSoft Hand and Body Lotion with Aloe, Medline Caring Body Lotion, or Dynarex Corporation A & D Ointment, but be sure to ask your doctor. Drink plenty of water and wear 100% cotton underwear to let the skin breathe, and check your skin for dry, red, or sore spots that may be indicative of an infection. Talk to your physician about any skin issues.
Diabetic foot problems are caused by two conditions; diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Neuropathy consists of a lack of sensation that keeps you from feeling pain, heat or cold in your feet; thus, you could sustain a cut or sore in your foot without even noticing it’s there. To make matters worse, PVD cuts off circulation to the feet, making it difficult for the wound to heal. If you’re not careful, the cut or sore might become infected, lead to gangrene and cost you a leg. A little prevention can forestall that grisly outcome.
Wash –don’t soak- your feet in warm water, and dry them thoroughly, particularly between the toes. Check your feet daily for cuts, sores, blisters, redness, calluses, &c. If necessary, use a mirror or enlist someone to help you check. Rub dry feet skin with a lotion after washing and drying them, but refrain from applying lotion between the toes. Gently file corns and calluses with an emery board or pumice stone after bathing and showering. Cut toenails at least once weekly or as often as necessary when they are soft from washing; cut them in the shape of the toe but not too short; use the emery board to file the edges. Wear socks or stockings to avoid blisters (not too tight below the knee), wear well-fitting shoes, and check the inside of the shoes before putting them on for edges and sharp objects.
Let your doctor know of any foot problems you might have. Diabetes-related foot problems include corns and calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, bunions, plantar warts, hammertoes, dry and cracked skin, and athlete’s foot. Your doctor should examine your feet at least once a year; remove your socks and shoes beforehand so he will be reminded of this. Your physician presumably knows what he’s doing; nevertheless ask him to check the feeling and circulation in your feet. Also ask him to show you how to cut your toenails, and what lotion or cream to use. If need be, ask him to refer you to a podiatrist.
Both diabetic socks (Diasox Diabetic Socks by Invacare Supply Group, Medline EMS Knee Length Anti-Embolism Stockings) and shoes (Invacare Supply Group Stride-Lite Boston Leather Diabetic Shoe) may be useful in protecting your feet from diabetic issues. Ask your doctor about diabetic shoes and socks when you are discussing diabetic skin and foot care.
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