In addition to controlling your blood glucose through medication and lifestyle changes, the next major concern for diabetics is proper foot care. Unfortunately, diabetics are at risk for serious infections from minor injuries that might progress to the point of needing a limb amputated. Taking proactive measures with good foot care is your best defense against these complications.
Start With Shoes And Socks
Your socks and shoes provide protection against injury, so it important to wear shoes when you are outside and socks while indoors. Selecting the appropriate footwear is also important because poorly-fitting shoes and socks can cause injuries. When you purchase socks, try ones specifically marketed to diabetics. They generally have compression to reduce swelling. Ordinary socks are fine as long as they fit properly, even if you need to buy a larger size. If you experience swelling in your feet and ankles, your socks should accommodate the change in size and not cause the ankle band to dig into your skin.
For shoes, look for comfortable sneakers that either have good arch support or have a flat sole (if you have flat feet). Consider purchasing a half size larger and wide width if swelling is a problem. The extra room will also prevent your shoe from rubbing against your feet and causing injury. If you need shoes for business casual or more formal events, opt for simple, slip-on pairs instead of heels or other uncomfortable styles.
Consider Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics can be critical for good diabetic foot care because these are made specifically for your unique foot issues. The ones purchased at the store might be helpful if you need immediate cushion, but making the long-term investment in custom orthotics can minimize other foot issues beyond the need for extra cushion. For example, differences in the way each person walks or toe deformities from other conditions, such as arthritis, can create unusual pressure points on your foot that happen no matter which shoes you buy. Preventing these pressure points with custom orthotics will minimize the chance of injuries or ulceration that can progress to potentially limb-threatening infections in diabetics. Speak to custom orthotic services for more help.
Always Check Your Feet
You should thoroughly evaluate your feet for any signs of problems each day or night. If you cannot closely inspect your feet, ask someone to help, or consider using a magnifying glass if you cannot position yourself close enough to see your feet. Make sure there are no abrasions, objects embedded in the skin, or toe nails that are going to dig into your skin. In severe cases of diabetic neuropathy, people can step on a sharp object and it might remain in their foot for days before they notice. Ask your doctor when you should receive medical care for a problem and what you can do for minor problems. For example, your doctor might give you instructions on how to treat a minor foot injury, but tell you certain signs to look for that signal it is infected or not healing so you can receive medical care.
When you are diabetic, especially if it has progressed to include diabetic neuropathy, foot care is even more critical. Taking care of your feet and preventing minor injuries can reduce your risk of serious or widespread infections.