Safeguarding Your Feet from Diabetic Complications. Preventing Diabetic Foot Complications
From 19% to 34% of diabetics will develop a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) at some point in their lives. The risk of experiencing a DFU increases with the duration of diabetes. Therefore, the primary prevention measure is to control your diabetes.
It’s crucial for diabetics and their families to be aware of the correct application of measures to reduce the risk of DFUs and the complications they entail.
Preventing Diabetic Foot Complications in Your Lifestyle
Adapt your lifestyle to prevent DFUs with these measures:
- Properly control your blood sugar levels.
- Monitor your blood pressure.
- Follow a correct diet.
- Take care of your skin using lotions or oils.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can reduce blood flow to your feet. If you smoke, seek help to quit.
- Engage in physical activity: walk every day.
Tips for Nail and Skin Care to Prevent DFUs
- Wear wide, comfortable, and soft shoes.
- Use seamless cotton socks.
- Wash your feet daily with lukewarm or cold water and a mildly acidic pH soap.
- Inspect your feet daily, aiming to detect signs of injuries as early as possible on your heels, the plantar area, and the interdigital area.
- Dry your feet thoroughly by patting them with a towel; avoid rubbing.
- In case of dry skin, calluses, and cracks, apply emollient or moisturizing creams.
- Calluses should preferably be treated by a podiatrist; do not use keratolytic solutions.
- Trim your nails straight; it’s better to use a nail file.
- Never walk barefoot on any type of surface.
- Avoid hot packs or electric heaters to prevent the risk of burns.
Help Maintain Blood Flow in Your Feet
Follow these suggestions to improve blood flow in your feet:
- Elevate your feet when sitting.
- Wiggle your toes for a few minutes during the day. Move your heels: lift them, lower them, flex them toward you, and away from you to help blood flow in your feet and legs.
- Avoid tight socks or elastic stockings. Do not attempt to hold loose socks with elastic bands.
- Engage in more physical activity. Choose activities that don’t put too much strain on your feet, such as walking, dancing, practicing yoga or stretching, swimming, or cycling.
When Should You See a Doctor About Foot Problems?
According to the NIH in their article on Diabetes and foot problems, call your doctor immediately if you have:
- A cut, blister, or bruise on your foot that doesn’t start healing after a few days.
- Redness, warmth, or pain in your skin, are signs of a potential infection.
- A callus with dried blood inside often can be the first sign of an injury beneath the callus.
- A foot infection turning black and smelling bad signs that you could have gangrene.
Ask your doctor to refer you to a podiatrist or foot specialist if needed. (Safeguarding Your Feet from Diabetic Complications)
To stay updated on the latest research on this condition and stem cell therapy, we invite you to read our article “Stem Cells and Diabetic Foot.“