How to take care of diabetic foot at home? To avoid serious complications, here are some simple tips to help you take care of your legs if you have diabetes.
Why is it important to take care of the diabetic foot?
Diabetes is a multifactorial disease that affects -sometimes- very negatively practically all parts of our body: organs, tissues, skin… In particular, it tends to cause damage to both nerves and blood vessels, causing over the years a loss of sensation in the feet.
This causes the affected person to not be able to feel when a sore, blister, cut, or even more serious injury occurs on either foot. As a result, it is possible that these lesions become infected or ulcerated, precisely because it has not been detected and cleaned in time. When the injury is very serious, it can lead to a much more serious situation: the amputation of the affected limb.
But this loss of sensation is not the only thing that diabetes can cause in the legs of affected patients. For example, damage to the different blood vessels can negatively influence them not to receive enough blood and oxygen, which precisely has a negative influence on the previous situation: the foot takes longer to heal when an infection, sore or wound occurs. They are a series of complications that are medically known as diabetic foot.
Useful tips to take care of diabetic foot every day
Monitor your feet every day
Although it is advice that we should all do daily (and we forget since we always tend to wash our feet without paying attention to their condition), when you have diabetes it is almost an obligation.
As we mentioned, when glucose levels are high, in the long term it tends to cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels. This damage is greater in those areas farthest from the heart, such as the case of the legs.
As a consequence of this, certain sensitivity is lost, so that the diabetic -or diabetic- does not realize when any part of his feet is injured or damaged, which over time and without adequate treatment and cleaning can lead to more serious problems.
Therefore, the key is to monitor your feet every day when you go to wash them, paying attention to less visible areas such as around the toes and heel.
It is essential to be aware of problems such as blisters with fluid or swelling, reddish spots, cuts, sores, corns or calluses, as well as hot areas.
Check and cut your nails carefully
Large, poorly cut toenails can wreak havoc around the foot, as they can damage the surrounding skin and cause wounds that a person with diabetes may not notice until it’s too late. In fact, if these types of injuries and wounds are not cleaned and treated, they can easily become infected.
Therefore, within the usual foot hygiene routine, it is advisable to check the nails to analyze their condition, and if necessary, cut them carefully. If you are very old or simply cannot do it yourself, you can ask a close relative or your doctor for help.
When you have diabetes, it is very important to avoid common nail problems, such as ingrown nails (it occurs when one of the edges of the nails grows into the skin).
To prevent the nails from becoming ingrown, the key is to always cut them in a straight line, with the help of a nail clipper, and not cut the corners of the nails to avoid possible small injuries that we do not notice.
Maintain proper hygiene
Just as it is important to monitor the general condition of our feet, and cut the nails when necessary, it is as fundamental as it is important to always try to maintain proper foot hygiene.
For this, it is advisable to always wash your feet with warm water and soap. In addition, it is not recommended to soak your feet, since this will dry out the skin (and in case of diabetes it is not very suitable).
When you finish, dry your feet well, especially between the toes, since it is an area that easily tends to retain a lot of moisture.
Other useful tips to help you take care of your feet
- Maintain adequate blood flow in the feet: It is vitally important that blood flow is maintained, especially if you have diabetes. For example, you can put your feet up whenever you’re sitting, and wiggle your toes for a few minutes each day. In addition, it is advisable to do physical exercise regularly.
- Wear shoes and socks: It is not advisable to walk barefoot or with socks, even if we are at home. It is best to always wear comfortable shoes, and do it with socks. In addition, you should check the inside of the shoes you are going to wear every day to avoid if there are pebbles that can cause damage.
Is it possible to avoid diabetic foot complications?
Yes, of course. The key is to control blood sugar levels, especially after the diagnosis of diabetes has occurred. And, in addition, it is advisable to maintain adequate and good foot hygiene. For this, it is necessary to check and wash them properly every day. In addition, it is necessary:
- Keep the skin of the feet hydrated and sufficiently moisturized.
- Cut your nails regularly. In this way we will avoid possible damage caused by large nails.
- In case of filing corns and calluses, always do it gently and carefully.
It is also advisable to try to protect your feet from both cold and heat, since sudden changes in temperature tend to have a negative influence.
On the other hand, it is essential to maintain adequate blood circulation. How? It is one hundred percent recommended to practice regular and moderate physical exercise, every day, for at least 30 minutes. This helps in a positive way not only in maintaining good circulation, but also in reducing blood glucose levels.