As health administrators across the country attempt to help senior citizens tolerate the hot summer weather, another group susceptible to heat-related health issues is diabetics. Dr. Hubert Lee, of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists, in Bellevue, WA, warns his diabetic patients that staying out too long in hot and humid weather can lead to numerous foot problems - even third-degree burns - if they don’t properly protect their feet.
People living with diabetes in extreme heat can experience swelling, cracking, and dryness from wearing sandals and issues from walking barefoot, such as blisters or puncture wounds from the hot pavement.
In some cases, just a few moments walking barefoot on a hot sidewalk or driveway can seriously burn the soles of a patient’s feet because they can’t feel how hot the surface really is. And while most diabetics know they shouldn’t walk barefoot, they sometimes mistakenly think there’s no danger if it’s just for a few minutes.
Any kind of skin break on a diabetic foot can get infected and ulcerate if it isn’t observed right away, so wearing sandals all the time in the summer poses problems for people with diabetes.
Feet constantly exposed in strap sandals or flip-flops often become dry from loss of moisturizing oils, resulting in rough skin that is susceptible to cracking. Patients who like to wear sandals need to carefully examine their feet each day and wear regular shoes a few days a week to limit exposure to the sun.
Some patients living with diabetes deal with foot swelling in hot weather, which makes their shoes feel tighter and may put additional pressure on the heels and toes, causing blisters.
Most diabetic patients don’t like it, but if their feet swell in hot weather, they should consider wearing support stockings, because compression is the best way to diminish swelling and avoid complications, such as further impaired nerve function and poor circulation.
Attentive foot care is a year-round responsibility for patients living with diabetes, but the temptations of summer can test even the most conscientious patient’s resolve.
But unfortunately, there’s no off-season for diabetes, so our patients must always be very careful with their feet to avoid skin breaks and infections that result from this disease.
If you are living with diabetes and are experiencing issues with your feet, contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA today at (425) 455-0936 to schedule an appointment for proper treatment.