Like colds and tooth decay, foot problems are among the most common ailments in America today. In fact, according to the American Podiatrist Medical Association 75% of all Americans will experience foot health problems at one time or another in their life. Thats 3 out of 4 people. And, if you have diabetes your feet may have fewer defenses against everyday wear and tear. Reduced sensation may mean you cant feel injuries. Reduced blood flow may prevent injuries from healing. Even minor injuries may quickly progress to serious infections.
Here are a few suggested dos and donts for diabetic foot care:
Never walk around barefoot or wearing only socks
Dont soak your feet -- soaking your feet will dry out your skin.
Dont put shoes on without looking in them or shaking them out to be sure there are no foreign objects inside.
Dont apply a heating pad or hotwater bottle to your feet.
Dont use chemicals or sharp objects to trim calluses.
Dont use nail clippers to trim nails. Instead, use an emery board.
Dont wear shoes without socks.
Dont use adhesive tape on he skin of your feet.
Do inform your doctor and certified pedorthist that you are diabetic.
Do have your shoes fit and checked often by a certified pedorthist.
Do wear sturdy, properly fitting shoes.
Do wear shoes that are leather and lace up rather than slip on.
Do check your feet daily for blisters, calluses or red spots. If you cant see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or have a family member help you. Notify your physician immediately if you notice anything wrong with your feet during your daily checks.
Do wash your feet every day and dry them well, especially between the toes -- moisture can promote fungus.
Do wear clean socks and change them daily. There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet and they sweat as much as a half a pint of moisture daily. If your feet perspire excessively, change socks several times during the day.
Do see a podiatrist on a regular basis if you are unable to trim your own toenails. Be sure to have corns and calluses trimmed by a doctor.
Do keep your skin from drying out. Use a thin application of lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of your feet every morning and night. Avoid lotion between your toes.
Do be active -- walking (with proper footwear) is great exercise.
Do see your physician on a regular basis.
Do ask your physician if he or she can recommend a diabetes educator to you.
Do learn all you can about diabetes.
Your feet are the foundation of your body and if they hurt you wont walk as much and youll lose the exercise benefits of walking. In fact, your whole life may slow down. Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all around well-being. So, take a look at your feet -- what kind of shape are they in?
Debra I. Goodus is a Board Certified Pedorthist. For more information call (909) 780-7860. Foot Matrix is located at 285 E. Alessandro Blvd., 7B, in the Mission Grove Plaza in Riverside.
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