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Tips for the Diabetic Foot
Diabetics can be at serious risk with their feet if they are not looked after and inspected regularly.
This is because diabetes affects the nerve endings, particularly in extremities such as the feet causing a loss of sensation in the area.
Essentially this means that they will be unable to feel any cracks, blisters, or wounds that develop which may lead to more serious infections occurring, such as gangrene and ulcers.
Listed below are 6 diabetic foot care tips that you should know to reduce the risk of complications occurring:
1) Choosing Socks
For all intents and purposes, these look like regular ordinary socks but diabetic socks are specially designed to prevent moisture and the buildup of microorganisms that can lead to infections.
They are likely to be more comfortable as the materials used will be a combination of synthetic and natural fibers such as nylon, cotton, and elasticated fibers which will provide cushioning as well as keep the foot dry and cool. They are also likely to be seamless and crinkle-proof so as not to cause blisters.
The neck of the sock will be wider and less elasticated so as not to restrict blood circulation to the foot and toes which is also good for people suffering from edema.
The main factors in choosing a diabetic sock will be comfort and protection. They should fit comfortably and not be too tight in the toe-box area or be tight to put on and take off around the heel and ankle. It is also a good idea to wear white socks as opposed to colored socks because blood and plasma leakage will be easier to detect.
2) Treating Fungal Nails
Diabetics are at more risk of contracting a mycotic infection (onychomycosis) of the nails which is a fungal infection characterized by discolored, thickened, and/or split toenails that need to be treated generally with topical over-the-counter medications. They are more at risk from this kind of infection because the reduced circulation in the foot leads to a reduced immune response to infections.
3) Athletes Foot
It is equally important to prevent the foot from becoming infected with the athlete's foot, medically known as tinea pedis. Use a separate foot towel just for the feet and relieve any symptoms of itching and burning with an over-the-counter medication in powder, cream, or spray form. Always seek advice from your doctor or podiatrist if symptoms persist as again the condition can deteriorate into something more serious.
4) Foot Creams
It is important for diabetics to regularly use a foot cream after bathing the foot. Make sure the web spaces between the toes are clean and dry to avoid an athlete's foot infection, although it is not recommended to put the cream between the toes because it may encourage a fungal infection to take hold especially if the feet are not washed every day.
Patients also suffered generally from dry skin on the feet due to the damaged nerves causing problems with the sweat glands. It is therefore a good idea to use a foot cream that has a high urea content as this will replenish the skin and allow it to expand and contract if there is any swelling without splitting. Natural aromatherapy-type oils can also be used.
If you are suffering from the excessive callous best way is to have this removed professionally by your podiatrist. If it is only a minor buildup you could use a pumice stone or gentle foot file to smooth the hardened layers of skin, but do this when the foot is dry.
6) Get a Foot Assessment/Examination
Visit your foot doctor chattanooga and get a full diabetic foot assessment. This will involve taking your pulses with a Doppler machine, checking for neuropathy (sensation) using tip them, tuning fork and/or monofilament test, and possibly an ankle brachial blood pressure test. These will help your physician to assess the level of your risk from diabetes and offer a course of action.