More than 185,000 people have amputations in the United States each year. Diabetes patients make up more than half of that number. Diabetes can leave a person vulnerable to foot and toe amputations because of the complications it causes. The condition causes symptoms such as blood flow restriction and loss of feeling. Such symptoms can make it difficult for a person with diabetes to realize when he or she has a skin ulcer, infection, swelling, blister or other dangerous foot skin condition. The following are a few dos and don’ts that can help a person with diabetes to maintain proper foot care:
Do Inspect the Feet Daily
A dangerous situation can develop quickly for a person with diabetes. Therefore, inspecting the feet daily is imperative. The person should examine both of his or her feet for blisters, cracks, cuts, sores, irritations, ingrown toenails and swelling. All aforementioned situations can exacerbate quickly and turn into a medical emergency. Therefore, the person should have a friend or family member conduct the examination if he or she cannot perform it.
Do Use Skin Moisturizers
A diabetes sufferer should apply skin moisturizers to the feet every day. Daily applications of moisturizers such as Aloe Vera, cocoa butter and baby oil can help keep the foot skin from cracking and becoming infected. Some pharmacies and department stores sell specialized diabetic foot creams that contain pain relieving elements such as lidocaine.
Do Exercise the Feet
Diabetes restricts blood flow. Therefore, a sufferer will want to take every step possible to maximize the blood flow to the feet. The person will want to wiggle the feet and toes several times a day and walk around as much as possible. He or she should participate in at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Do Not Wear Uncomfortable Shoes
Tight and uncomfortable shoes can restrict blood flow even further, which can place a person at risk for gangrene. Diabetic shoes should be comfortable and loose to prevent constriction.
Do Not Ignore Minor Problems
The most important diabetic foot care tip is never to ignore minor foot problems. A diabetic person should speak with a specialist about any cases of swelling, irritation, pain, burning, or discharge. A quick call to a specialist can spare a person from the pain of having an amputation.