While anyone can experience issues with their feet, for people who live with diabetes, the possibility of incurring even a common foot issue can lead to serious complications, infection, and in some cases, even amputation. As a precautionary measure, it’s important for diabetics to take preventative measures, including making changes according to the season. And because November is Diabetes Awareness Month, in today’s post, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing his top 5 cold weather tips for patients living with diabetes.
Diabetics already have a compromised system, which makes them prone to nerve disease and poor blood circulation in their extremities. It’s important they don’t just rely on their senses, but instead make changes based on variations in climate to keep their feet healthy.
To help diabetics keep their feet healthy, here are 5 winter foot care tips for patients living with diabetes.
- Keep your feet moisturized. Apply a moisturizer daily to help keep skin from drying out or cracking. While applying it, avoid the area between the toes. Doing so could cause a fungal infection to develop. Poor circulation, when associated with diabetes, often reduces the moistening glands in diabetic feet, leaving them more vulnerable to severe dryness.
- Wear the right shoes. Choosing proper winter footwear can be a tedious process, but having diabetes brings with it even more concerns. In any climate, diabetics should wear properly fitted shoes that have a wide toe box to decrease cramping and supportive soles.
- Keep your feet away from direct heat. A safe way for diabetics to reduce the risk of burning their feet is to keep them away from direct heat. Diabetes can trigger nerve damage in the feet, which often makes the simple job of warming them in colder months tricky for diabetics. The numbness caused by neuropathy prevents diabetic patients from feeling when their feet are burning. As a result, they can experience serious burns, which can cause severe foot problems.
Diabetics should test bath water before putting their feet in it. Also, patients with diabetes should avoid using heated shoe inserts, heating pads, and electric blankets.
- Keep your feet as dry as possible. Snow, rain, and sloppy weather can all cause dampness. When moisture collects between your feet and toes and your socks, bacteria can develop, which can lead to an infection. Change out of damp or wet socks, and towel dry your feet as soon as possible.
- Visit your podiatrist regularly. Because diabetics are extremely sensitive to foot problems, they should visit their podiatrists regularly as a preventative measure.
With the right foot care, diabetics can reduce their chances of incurring foot problems. Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.