Diabetes can affect many aspects of a person's life, and problems with the feet are no exception. Proper diabetic foot management is an essential part of diabetic care, as the feet are susceptible to developing sores, blisters, or cuts that do not heal properly and may lead to infection. This is a major cause of amputation in people with diabetes. Diabetic foot management involves daily visual inspections of the feet, lifestyle modifications, and frequent visits to a doctor.
Diabetic foot management begins with daily foot inspections. The patient should check each foot for any cuts, sores, or nail problems. It often helps to use a magnifying mirror to look at the bottoms of the feet. Even the smallest concerns should be reported to a doctor right away.
Proper cleaning and moisturizing is the next step in diabetic foot management. The feet should be washed daily in lukewarm water. It is important not to use hot water, as it could damage the skin on the feet, increasing the chances of developing an infection. A soft cloth or sponge should be used, and the feet should be gently patted dry after bathing. A gentle moisturizer should be applied to the feet daily, avoiding the area between the toes owing to risks of fungal infections.
Nail care is an important consideration in diabetic foot management. The nails should be cut straight across, and the edges should be carefully filed. Cutting the nails too short could lead to ingrown toenails, so extreme caution should be used. Many diabetic patients prefer to have toenails cut by a doctor.
Socks and shoes are necessary concerns when considering diabetic foot management. Socks with elastic bands can restrict circulation and should not be used. Thick or bulky socks can cause skin irritation and should be avoided as well. Clean, dry socks should be worn to bed each night. Many diabetic patients have some loss of sensation in the feet, so shoes should be carefully checked for pebbles or other foreign materials.
It is important for anyone with diabetes to have regular visits with a doctor. The doctor will most likely check the feet at each visit to make sure there are no complications or issues that need to be addressed. If the patient has any questions or concerns about diabetic foot management between visits with the doctor, a quick call to the doctor's office can usually help the doctor decide if an earlier appointment may be necessary.