Why is it important to avoid foot infections when you have Diabetes?
You should make all necessary efforts to avoid any infection that may lead to foot problems because:
Neglecting foot problems in people with poorly controlled Diabetes, is the worldwide leading cause for amputation of the lower extremities.
Prevention and proper treatment can reduce amputation cases by more than 85%.
If you have Diabetes, how should you take proper care of your feet?
Infections don’t usually occur unless there is a wound on the skin. A wound is an opportunity for germs to set camp in the tissues, multiplying and causing damage, so you should always keep the following recommendations in mind:
- Inspect your feet every night under a good light. If you can’t see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or tell a family member to check them.
- Tell your doctor immediately if you have any alterations on your feet or toes (color, temperature, or form) or signs of infection.
- Don’t walk barefoot, even indoors.
- Don’t put hot water bottles or any other heat treatment on your feet.
- Wear comfortable shoes with enough space for your fingers.
- Break in any new shoes gradually, wearing them for short periods of time.
Wear socks or stockings, preferably cotton or wool, with shoes (avoid nylon). Nylon stockings halt heat loss or ventilation and can cause the foot to be moistened and hot which allows for bacterial and fungi proliferation.
- Socks with thick seams should have the seam on the outside, so it doesn’t rub against the skin.
- If the skin is dry, apply lotion on the top and bottom of the feet. Never apply lotion between the toes.
- If the skin is moist, apply medicated powder.
- Avoid tanning your feet excessively. In the summer, if your feet are exposed to the sun apply sunscreen on the top of your feet.
Promote good blood circulation, following these recommendations:
- Don’t wear garters or stockings that can interfere with circulation (unless instructed by your doctor).
- Try not to cross your legs when sitting.
- Try to keep your feet warm as coldness makes blood vessels constrict.
- Use socks to sleep and don’t shower in water that’s too hot or cold.
- Exercise helps promote circulation, which is why it’s advisable to exercise every day.
- Walking is a safe and beneficial exercise.
- Don’t smoke, because smoking constricts blood vessels.