For people with diabetes, high blood sugars can cause nerve damage (also called diabetic neuropathy) and poor circulation in your feet.
With time, you may lose feeling in your feet and may not notice any new cuts or blisters. This can lead to serious infections or ulcers that may lead to gangrene and amputations.
How to Avoid Foot Complications
Taking good care of your feet can help you prevent serious complications.
Follow these steps to avoid serious infections and gangrene:
- Check your feet daily: inspect your feet and in between your toes. Check for new cuts, blisters, and bruises. Call your doctor if you notice a new loss of sensation in one or both of your feet.
- Wash your feet daily: wash with soap and warm water.
- Dry your feet after washing: do not let your feet air dry, which can lead to dryness. After washing your feet, thoroughly dry them with a clean towel and sprinkle a little bit of talcum powder or cornstarch between the toes to get rid of extra moisture. Moisturize the rest of your foot with unscented lotion or petroleum jelly.
- Wear the right shoes and socks: choose comfortable shoes that fit well and are made of leather or natural fibers. Choose comfortable and seamless socks. Change your socks daily or more often if your feet get sweaty. Also, before wearing your shoes, inspect the insides for small objects or pebbles since you may not feel them once you put on your shoes.
- Never walk barefoot: even when you are home, always wear socks and slippers to protect your feet from injuries.
- Keep the blood flowing: wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles for a few minutes every day. Do these movements a few times a day. You can also put your feet up when sitting down.
- Ask your doctor to check your feet during every visit: take your shoes and socks off when you are in the examination room to remind your doctor to check your feet.
- Do a comprehensive foot exam at least once a year: this will lower your risk of serious infections and amputations.
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