How can diabetes affect your feet?
Diabetes can cause a limited blood flow to the feet, sometimes this can result in weakness of the feet and makes sores difficult to heal. Symptoms of low blood flow can be numbness and pain, as well as dry skin and cold feet. Sometimes tingling may occur, and this may be a symptom of diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage caused by a consistently high level of glucose in the bloodstream. Diabetic neuropathy is a serious medical condition so consistent numbness or tingling in the limbs should be taken seriously and advised by a medical practitioner.
If you have diabetes, to properly care for your feet you should:
- Have your diabetes reviewer refer you to a podiatrist if you experience numbness, tingling, cold feet, or foot pain.
- Keep feet clean and moisturized to avoid cracked skin and sores or wounds that could be difficult to heal.
- Wear comfortable shoes that don’t cause friction sores, calluses, or ulcers.
- Don’t walk on surfaces that may graze or wound the skin of the feet.
- See a podiatrist for other foot health issues that can escalate such as ingrown toenails, corns, or hard skin.
How to keep feet clean and minimize the chances of infected sores.
Foot baths not only help keep the feet clean and skin moisturised but can also help in inflammation reduction and an increase in blood flow to the feet. Diabetics can benefit from regular foot baths if dealing with the symptoms of diabetes. For the added benefit of its antifungal properties, 2-4 drops of tea tree oil can be added to a foot a bath to help keep feet and nails bacteria-free. If dry skin on the feet is an issue, Epsom salt or coarse sea salt can be added for an exfoliating effect. Always moisturise feet after a foot soak to protect the moisture barrier of the skin.
How to keep feet moisturised to avoid cracked skin.
Avoiding cracked skin is important for diabetic feet because cracked skin can lead to infections and sores that are hard to heal. Cracked skin is more common in feet that lack blood flow. By keeping feet moisturised you can reduce the chance of dry and cracked skin. To remove dry skin, consider using a pumice stone during a foot soak, then moisturise. Use a moisturiser that is thick and made for feet or hands as a facial or body lotion will be less moisturising because it is designed not to clog facial pores. Look for moisturisers with added moisturising properties such as Hyaluronic Acid that helps the skin to hold onto its moisture.
A foot massage with a moisturiser also helps to increase blood flow and to absorb the moisturiser into the feet. With a generous amount of moisturiser, apply all over and use the thumbs in upwards and outwards T-motions across the length of the foot to soothe muscles and stimulate blood flow to the area.
How to keep feet warm and dry.
Because of the chances of decreased blood flow in diabetic feet, the feet may become cold, sometimes going tingly or numb. Cold feet can cause discomfort, muscle cramps, and dry skin. To keep feet warm, wear insulating socks such as specialized thermal socks or thick wool socks, and wear slippers when walking on cold surfaces. Additionally, keeping feet dry can be beneficial for heat retention and to decrease the chances of sores from tender skin. Wearing boots or shoes that are designed with leather or suede over non-waterproof materials such as canvas can be beneficial if in a wet climate.
Footwear for diabetics.
Diabetic shoes should be well fitted, not too small or too large, to reduce the chances of corns, calluses, or blisters forming from friction and pressure. Signs of an ill-fitted shoe include redness, tenderness, and pain. Diabetic feet can sometimes be prone to swelling or inflammation, so a wide fit that does not constrict the feet may be a good option. Cushioning with an insole is also good for diabetic feet to help in pressure distribution to stop calluses from dry skin. Shoes such as flip-flops, backless shoes, and high heels are not advised as they can cause uneven weight and pressure distribution.
Here at Uufey shoes, we offer a range of wide-fit shoes and boots, with added cushioning from our orthotic inserts, that are ideal for sensitive feet. Our full leather, suede, and leather-lined shoes are a perfect choice of footwear to keep feet warm and dry, and thick rubber soles add height and stability without damaging high heels. Uufey shoes are designed with a wide fit and deep heel cups, giving sensitive feet stability, cushioning, and support.