Tips on Foot and Skin Care

When you have peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes, your feet and skin need extra care and attention.

Very small, repetitive injuries to the feet – like those caused by poorly fitting shoes – can lead to bigger problems, says Tom Elasy, MD, director of the Diabetes Clinic at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. “Calluses, blisters, sores, infections, and foot ulcers may appear on numb areas of the foot because pressure or injury goes unnoticed. This happens simply because you can’t feel the problem.”

Also, people with uncontrolled diabetes have a hard time fighting infections. They may also have poor circulation that can lead to problems with healing. That means a minor cut in your skin could become an ulcer or develop into a serious infection. With good foot care, you can prevent most of these problems.

Inspect Your Feet Daily if You Have Diabetes
“We recommend that patients inspect their feet on a daily basis for cuts, any signs of redness, calluses, or blisters,” says Elasy. “Using a little mirror can help. Also, it’s important to moisturize. But avoid getting it between the toes, because that area is already moist. So extra moisture tends to cause fungal infections.”

Even if you have diabetes, caring for your feet is easy. It’s best to do it when you are bathing or getting ready for bed. And remember that good foot care also involves getting medical help early if a problem develops. It’s very important to see your doctor for treatment right away – to prevent serious complications like infections.

Here are good everyday foot care habits to follow:

  • Inspect your feet daily. Wash your feet, and then thoroughly dry them. Use a handheld mirror (like a magnifying mirror) to inspect them. Look for blisters, cuts, cracks, dry skin, redness, tenderness, or sores on the skin and on the soles of your feet.
  • Powder in between your toes. This helps keep that moist skin dry and helps prevent fungal infections.
  • Rub lotion on your feet and legs to prevent dry cracked skin. But don’t put lotion between your toes because of the risk of fungal infections.
  • Keep your nails trimmed. Use an emery board for filing so you don’t hurt your skin.
  • Protect your feet. Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injury. Don’t use a heating pad or hot water bottle to warm your feet.
  • Get checkups at the doctor. On each visit, make sure your doctor inspects your feet.
  • Don’t use corn removers or other drugstore foot treatments. These can be harmful. Let your doctor treat your foot problems.
  • Wear properly fitted shoes. Also, wear socks at all times to prevent injury.

ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.

Diabetes Foot Care Overview

NFORMATION

If you have diabetes you are more likely to have foot problems. Diabetes can damage your nerves (See: Diabetic neuropathy). This, in turn, may make you less able to feel an injury or pressure on the skin of your foot. You may not notice a foot injury until severe damage or infection develops.

Diabetes changes your body’s ability to fight infections. Damage to blood vessels because of diabetes results in less blood and oxygen getting to your feet. Because of this, small sores or breaks in the skin may become deeper skin ulcers. The affected limb may need to be amputated if these skin ulcers do not improve, get larger, or go deeper into the skin.

If you have diabetes, you should:

  • Improve control of your blood sugar
  • Stop smoking
  • Get a foot exam by your health care provider at least once a year and learn whether you have nerve damage.
  • Check and care for your feet every day, especially if you already have known nerve or blood vessel damage or current foot problems. Follow the instructions below.

DAILY CARE ROUTINE

Diabetic_Foot1Check your feet and toes every day. Look carefully at the top, sides, soles, heels, and between the toes.

Wash your feet and toes every day with lukewarm water and mild soap. Strong soaps may damage the skin.

  • Test the temperature of the water with your fingers or elbows before putting your feet in warm or hot water. Because of your diabetes, you may not be able to sense if the water is too hot. Burns can easily occur.
  • Gently and thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes. Infections can develop in moist areas.
  • Your feet may become very dry and may crack, possibly causing an infection. After bathing your feet, soften dry skin with lotion, petroleum jelly, lanolin, or oil. Do not put lotion between your toes if you have sores there.

Ask your health care provider if it is okay for you to trim your nails. If it is, ask your health care provider to show you the safest way. If your toenails are not trimmed correctly, you may get a foot sore or ulcer.

  • Soak your feet in lukewarm water to soften your nails before trimming.
  • Cut the nail straight across, because curved nails are more likely to become ingrown.

Avoid sitting with your legs crossed or standing in one position for long periods of time.

If you smoke, stop. It decreases blood flow to the feet.

TIPS ON SHOES AND SOCKS

Wear shoes at all times to protect your feet from injury. Otherwise, if you have poor vision and less ability to feel pain, you may not notice minor cuts or bumps.

  • Check the inside of your shoes for rough areas or torn pieces that can cause excess pressure or irritation.
  • If you have nerve damage to your feet, change or temporarily remove your shoes after 5 hours of wearing them during the day. This changes the pressure points during the course of the day.

The type of shoes you wear when you have diabetes is important:

  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes that have plenty of room in them. Never buy shoes that do not fit properly, hoping the shoes will stretch with time. Nerve damage may prevent you from being able to sense pressure from poorly fitting shoes. You may need a special shoe made to fit your foot.
  • Wear shoes made of canvas, leather, or suede. Do not wear shoes made out of plastic, or another material that does not breathe. Do not wear thong sandals.
  • Wear shoes you can easily adjust. They should have laces, Velcro, or buckles.
  • Do not wear shoes with pointed or open toes, such as high heels, flip-flops, or sandals.

Socks may provide an extra layer of protection between your shoe and your foot.

  • Wear clean, dry socks or nonbinding panty hose every day.
  • Do NOT wear stockings with seams that can cause pressure points.
  • Wear socks to bed if your feet are cold. In cold weather, wear warm socks and limit your exposure to the cold to prevent frostbite.

MORE HELPFUL TIPS

  • Do NOT use antiseptic solutions on your feet because these can burn and injure skin.
  • Do NOT apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to your feet. Avoid hot pavement or hot sandy beaches.
  • Remove shoes and socks during visits to your health care provider. This is a reminder that you may need a foot exam.
  • Do NOT treat corns or calluses yourself using over-the-counter remedies. Make an appointment with a podiatrist to treat foot problems.
  • If obesity prevents you from being physically able to inspect your feet, ask a family member, neighbor, or visiting nurse to perform this important check.

Report sores or other changes to your doctor immediately. Report all blisters, bruises, cuts, sores, or areas of redness.

ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.

Foot Care, Your Child And Diabetes

Too much glucose in the blood for too long can cause endless problems.  Constant high blood sugars can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and eyes.  These will all be covered on a seperate page.

What can happen to my child’s feet?

High blood glucose levels can cause nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy).  This is damage  to nerves and can affect legs and feet.  Your child may feel pain or a tingling sensation, even a hot or cold sensation.  If your child had nerve damage they probably wouldn’t be aware of a sore point on the foot, this means this sore could get worse.

Nerve damage can also lead to sores and ultimately infections.

Poor blood flow:

This means not enough blood flowing to the legs and feet.  Poor blood flow means a sore or an infection is going to take longer to heal.  This is called peripheral vascular disease.

How to take care of your child’s feet:

My son Eddie often gets blisters.  Thankfully he doesn’t have nerve damage in his feet.  If he couldn’t feel them then the blisters could become infected and if blood glucose levels were high the the extra glucose would feed the germs.  These germs would grow and the infection would worsen.  This is why it is paramount to try and achieve tight diabetic control.

If your child had poor blood flow to legs then healing in the feet would be slow.  Sometimes a bad infection doesn’t heal and can develop into gangrene.  This is when the skin and tissue around a sore dies.  This then blackens and becomes smelly.  In severe cases amputation occurs.

1.  Wash feet in warm water every day;  dry well especially between the toes and add talc if required.

2.  Look at your child’s feet every day to check for any sores, cuts, blisters redness or other problems.

3.  File any corns, hard skin with an emery board or pumice stone after a warm bath or shower.  Avoid corn and callous removers, consult a Podiatrist (a Doctor who looks after feet).

4.  Cut your child’s toenails regularly, straight across and not too short.  Cut after washing feet when the nails are soft.

5.  Make sure your child is wearing good fitting shoes to prevent blisters.

6.  Your child’s feet should be examined by a GP or diabetic clinic professional at least once a year.


Common Foot Problems:

Picture

 Anyone can have foot problems but high blood glucose levels + foot problem can = infection.

Corns and calluses
 are thick layers of skin, these too can become infected.

Ingrowing toenails can be caused by tight fitting shoes, these too can get infected.

Dry skin can become cracked and germs can enter and cause infection.  If necessary moisturise feet after bathing your child.  Don’t use cream or lotion between the toes, use talc, unless infection is present.

Athlete’s foot is a fungus that causes redness, cracking of the skin and itchiness.

The cracks allow germs to get under the skin and cause infection.  High blood glucose + athlete’s foot = germs = infection.

ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.

Diabetes Foot Care

Fit feet – Steps to healthy foot care

Why is foot care so important when you have diabetes?

natural-foot-careWhen living with diabetes, it is important to have good blood glucose control. Having too much glucose in the blood can eventually lead to many problems, including foot problems. Foot problems are common in people with diabetes and can lead to a serious condition known as neuropathy, damage to the nerves.

When the nerves are not functioning properly, people with neuropathy are less likely to feel a pebble inside their sock, a blister on their foot, or other foot injuries. Foot problems can also occur from wearing ill-fitting shoes, stepping on sharp objects, or even normal everyday activities.

Someone taking care of feetDiabetes can also affect the amount of blood flow in the legs and the feet, known as peripheral vascular disease. Numbness and low blood flow in the feet can also lead to problems. When foot injuries are left unnoticed and untreated, even if they are small foot injuries, they can quickly become infected. This can lead to a medical condition known as ulcers.

Walking with foot ulcers and not properly treating the injury will prevent healing. This puts you at risk for developing gangrene, the death or decay of body tissues, which may lead to amputations.

Daily foot care will help you to prevent these problems.

ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.

Importance of Foot Care In Diabetes

What is diabetic foot care?

Diabetic foot care is a routine you do each day to protect your feet. Diabetes increases your risk of foot ulcers (wounds). Chronic high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your legs and feet. Foot care is needed to prevent serious problems.

Why is diabetic foot care important?

Diabetes may cause your toes to become crooked or curved under. These changes may affect the way you walk and can lead to increased pressure on your foot. The pressure can decrease blood flow to your feet. Lack of blood flow increases your risk for a foot ulcer. Do not ignore small problems, such as dry skin or small wounds. These can become life-threatening over time without proper care.

  • Neuropathy: You may have nerve damage in your feet that makes it difficult to feel touch, pressure, pain, and temperature. You may not be able to feel when your footwear is too tight. You may also not be able to feel a cut or sore on your foot. Even a small cut or scratch can become an ulcer. Diabetic foot ulcers do not heal well and are hard to treat.
  • Peripheral vascular disease (PVD):PVD decreases blood flow to your feet and slows healing. You may have an increased risk of infection if you have PVD.
  • Retinopathy: Problems with your vision may make it hard for you to see problems with your feet.

How do I care for my feet?

  • Check your feet: Look at your whole foot, including the bottom, and between and under your toes. Check each day for wounds, corns, and calluses (thick areas of dead, dry skin). The skin on your feet may be shiny, tight, or darker than normal. Your feet may also be cold and pale. Redness, swelling, and warmth are signs of blood flow problems that can lead to a foot ulcer. Do not try to remove corns or calluses yourself.
  • Wash and dry your feet carefully: Wash your feet each day with soap and warm water. Do not use hot water, because this can injure your foot. Dry your feet gently with a towel after you wash them. Dry between and under your toes.
  • Moisturize your feet: Use lotion or a moisturizer after you wash and dry your feet. Ask your caregiver what to use.
  • Cut your toenails correctly: File or cut your toenails straight across. Use a soft brush to clean around your toenails. If your toenails are very thick, you may need to have a caregiver cut them.Diabetic foot care is a routine you do each day to protect your feet. Diabetes increases your risk of foot ulcers (wounds). Chronic high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your legs and feet. Foot care is needed to prevent serious problems.

    Why is diabetic foot care important?

    Diabetes may cause your toes to become crooked or curved under. These changes may affect the way you walk and can lead to increased pressure on your foot. The pressure can decrease blood flow to your feet. Lack of blood flow increases your risk for a foot ulcer. Do not ignore small problems, such as dry skin or small wounds. These can become life-threatening over time without proper care.

    Neuropathy: You may have nerve damage in your feet that makes it difficult to feel touch, pressure, pain, and temperature. You may not be able to feel when your footwear is too tight. You may also not be able to feel a cut or sore on your foot. Even a small cut or scratch can become an ulcer. Diabetic foot ulcers do not heal well and are hard to treat.

    Peripheral vascular disease (PVD): PVD decreases blood flow to your feet and slows healing. You may have an increased risk of infection if you have PVD.

    Retinopathy: Problems with your vision may make it hard for you to see problems with your feet.
    How do I care for my feet?

    Check your feet: Look at your whole foot, including the bottom, and between and under your toes. Check each day for wounds, corns, and calluses (thick areas of dead, dry skin). The skin on your feet may be shiny, tight, or darker than normal. Your feet may also be cold and pale. Redness, swelling, and warmth are signs of blood flow problems that can lead to a foot ulcer. Do not try to remove corns or calluses yourself.

    Wash and dry your feet carefully: Wash your feet each day with soap and warm water. Do not use hot water, because this can injure your foot. Dry your feet gently with a towel after you wash them. Dry between and under your toes.

    Moisturize your feet: Use lotion or a moisturizer after you wash and dry your feet. Ask your caregiver what to use.

    Cut your toenails correctly: File or cut your toenails straight across. Use a soft brush to clean around your toenails. If your toenails are very thick, you may need to have a caregiver cut them.
    Correct Way to Trim Toenails
    Protect your feet: Do not walk barefoot or wear your shoes without socks. Check your shoes for rocks or other objects that can hurt your feet. Wear cotton socks to help keep your feet dry. Wear socks without toe seams, or wear them with the seams inside out. Change your socks each day. Do not wear socks that are dirty or damp.
    How are diabetic foot problems diagnosed?

    Foot exam: Your caregiver will check your feet for wounds and for any changes in how they look or move. He will look at your shoes to see if they fit you well.

    Monofilament test: Your caregiver will press a small wire against the bottoms of your feet until the wire bends. If you cannot feel the wire, you may have nerve damage.

    Ankle brachial index: This test checks blood pressure in your ankle. It can help to test how well your blood is flowing to your feet.

  • Protect your feet: Do not walk barefoot or wear your shoes without socks. Check your shoes for rocks or other objects that can hurt your feet. Wear cotton socks to help keep your feet dry. Wear socks without toe seams, or wear them with the seams inside out. Change your socks each day. Do not wear socks that are dirty or damp.

How are diabetic foot problems diagnosed?

  • Foot exam: Your caregiver will check your feet for wounds and for any changes in how they look or move. He will look at your shoes to see if they fit you well.
  • Monofilament test: Your caregiver will press a small wire against the bottoms of your feet until the wire bends. If you cannot feel the wire, you may have nerve damage.
  • Ankle brachial index: This test checks blood pressure in your ankle. It can help to test how well your blood is flowing to your feet.

How are diabetic foot problems treated?

  • Cast: A cast protects your foot from injury.
  • Foam bandages: Your caregiver may wrap one or both of your feet in a cushioned bandage.
  • Insoles: Insoles are pads or cushions that are put inside your shoes to help protect your feet.
  • Orthotics: Orthotics are foot braces that help decrease pressure.
  • Diabetic footwear: Your caregiver may have shoes made for you if you have foot deformities.
  • Walking aids: These include canes, crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be done to fix foot deformities, and to increase the blood flow to your feet.

What can I do to help prevent diabetic foot problems?

  • Check your blood sugar level: Keep your blood sugar steady to decrease your risk for foot ulcers. Your caregiver will tell you what your blood sugar level should be and how often to check it. You may need to check at least 3 times each day. Keep a record of your blood sugar levels with the date and time that you checked them. Your caregiver may want to review your record during follow-up visits.
    Blood Glucose Meter and Test Strips
  • Take your medicine as directed: Your caregiver may give you medicine to keep your blood sugar level steady. You may also have medicine to help treat your nerve damage, or other health problems. Keep a list of the medicines you take. Do not stop taking your medicines unless you ask your caregiver.
  • Create a meal plan: Your dietitian will help you create a meal plan. Your plan will have the right amount of calories and nutrition for you. Good nutrition will help control your blood sugar levels and help prevent foot problems.
  • Quit smoking: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk for diabetic foot problems. Smoking can also slow healing if you get a foot ulcer. Ask your caregiver for information if you are having trouble quitting.
  • Exercise: Your caregiver may suggest an exercise plan for you to help prevent any serious conditions caused by your diabetes. You will need to do activities that do not make a foot ulcer worse.
  • Wear shoes that fit well: Wear shoes that do not rub against any area of your feet. Your shoes should be 1 to 2 centimeters longer than your feet. Your shoes should also have extra space around the widest part of your feet. Walking or athletic shoes with laces or straps that adjust are best. Ask your caregiver for help in choosing shoes that fit you best.
    Correct Fitting Shoes

Where can I find more information?

  • American Diabetes Association
    1701 North Beauregard Street
    Alexandria , VA 22311
    Phone: 1- 800 – 342-2383
    Web Address: http://www.diabetes.org

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • Your blood sugar level is higher or lower than caregivers have told you it should be.
  • You see blisters, cuts, scratches, calluses, or sores on your foot.
  • You have a wound on your foot that gets bigger, deeper, or does not heal.
  • Your toenails become thick, curled, or yellow.
  • You find it hard to check your feet because your vision is poor.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your feet become numb, weak, or hard to move.
  • You have pus draining from a sore on your foot.
  • Your feet become red, warm, and swollen.
  • You have a fever.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.