Summer Foot Care Tips for Diabetics
(Originally published July 21, 2011)
For people with Diabetes, summer can present a real challenge - but by using a little common sense, you can still enjoy the beach, the pool and the great outdoors.
Over time, the feet of a Diabetic lose sensitivity and may not be able to "feel" as well as the feet of a person without Diabetes. They also take longer to heal from infections and injuries, so you need to protect them from the elements: sun, hot pavement, rough surfaces and sharp objects.
The California Podiatric Medical Association says "Most [serious foot health issues] begin as minor injuries that were left untreated."
Little problems can become big ones if you don't take care of them.
So enjoy the summer and protect your feet by following these common-sense tips:
- Wear real shoes and clean socks. Avoid sandals, flip-flops and going barefoot - it's just not worth the risk to your feet. Clean, unwrinkled socks and comfortable shoes will mean you can enjoy the outdoors safely. (The American Diabetes Association also recommends that you buy shoes at the end of the day, when feet are the largest.) Going swimming? Wear water shoes that hug your feet and be sure to check them frequently for debris.
- Shake out your shoes before you wear them, in case there's any gravel or other objects in them. Check with your hands to be sure that nothing in your shoe will rub against your feet. (Good advice anytime!)
- Wash feet daily with warm water and gentle soap, and moisturize with a good foot cream like Gilden Tree's Nourishing Foot Cream. Always dry feet gently first and don't moisturize between your toes.
- Inspect your feet daily, using a hand mirror if necessary. Look for bruises, cuts rashes, blisters or anything which looks odd.
- Schedule regular appointments with your podiatrist - especially if you plan a lot of outdoor activities. If you have any doubts or concerns about your feet, do check with your doctor. Better safe than sorry!
- Control your blood sugar, and don't smoke. Goes without saying but especially important in the summer.
All the pleasures of summer are waiting for you, if you just use a little common sense and take good care of your feet!