People with diabetes have high blood sugar (glucose) levels that can cause damage to their feet. High blood sugar levels can damage nerves in your feet (peripheral neuropathy), making them less able to feel pain, cold, and heat. As a result, foot problems can go unnoticed. Therefore, complications are more likely due to a lack of prompt treatment. High blood sugar levels can also damage blood vessels, leading to plaque forming inside them (peripheral arterial disease). These narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to your feet. A reduced blood supply to your feet means they can’t heal as well as usual. Therefore, effective foot care is essential in diabetes.
Effective foot care is crucial in both types 1 and 2 diabetes. Foot problems include blisters, cuts, athlete’s foot, corns, calluses, dry skin, verrucas, in-growing toenails, and fungal nail infections. In extreme cases, the resulting complications can include bacterial infections, ulcers, gangrene, and even amputation.
Listed below are some top tips to help you look after your feet:
If you have diabetes and experience problems with your feet, you should promptly speak to your doctor or podiatrist. Do not try to treat the condition yourself without consulting your doctor or podiatrist first, as some over-the-counter products may not be suitable for you.
Yes, plenty of products are available to help keep your feet healthy. There are specific socks designed for people with diabetes. Examples include Protect iT and Reflexa diabetic socks that help protect your feet. Moisturising products such as Flexitol Heel Balm hydrate your skin, stopping your feet from becoming dry and cracked. There are also various diabetic insoles available to help cushion your feet.
It is best to avoid smoking as it can worsen your circulatory problems. If you want to stop smoking, you should speak with your pharmacist. If you need dietary advice, you should consult your doctor about a referral to a dietician. Try to eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly, as this can help lower your blood sugar levels. Feet-friendly exercises you could try include walking, cycling, and swimming.
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