Foot care is one of the most important aspects of self-care for the diabetic. Even the smallest injury of the foot, if not taken seriously and not treated promptly, may result in amputation of foot.
REMEMBER, to take care of the skin, nails and the gaps between the toes is a must for healthy feet.
SYMPTOMS OF FOOT AT RISK
- Pain in the legs, which is relieved on walking or taking rest.
- Cramps in legs and feet at night.
- Burning pain
- Shooting pain, often worse at night that may be relieved on walking.
- Loss of sensation in the foot or any abnormal sensation.
- History of slow healing of cuts and scratches.
- Shiny appearance of skin
- Change in shape of foot
- Callus formation
- Loss of hair on the foot and toes.
- Dry scaly and cracked skin swelling (edema) of feet pigmentation, varicose veins. .
- Thickened toe nail with fungal infection.
- Cold feet.
- Foot infection, ulcer and abscess
In order to avoid damage and ultimately amputation, the following precautions should be taken on a daily basis.
- Wash your feet daily with louke warm water. Test the water with your hand or elbow before pouring it on your feet. Feet should be washed and not soaked.
- Wash and dry area between toes with thin cloth.
- If you have dry scaly skin use coconut oil.
- If there is excessive sweating use talcum powder.
- Make it a habit to inspect your feet daily after bath for cuts, bleeding, redness, cracks, blisters, burn marks, corns and calluses and infections; use a mirror to do so.
- Cut your nails regularly. Cut them straight and avoid cutting corners of the nail (it exposes the soft skin below nail and causes damage.)
- Prefer nail cutting after the bath, (nails are soft) in good light and without any hurry.
- Wear clean cotton socks every day. Avoid socks with tight elastic.
- Use shoes made of soft leather or canvas with broad front to accommodate toes comfortably. The sole and the inside of the shoes should be inspected every day for any foreign particles which may hurt the feet. New shoes should never be worn for a long duration. Use New Shoes for two to three hours daily till the time it doesn’t hurt.
- It should fit properly, neither too loose nor too tight.
- Purchase shoes in the evening, as foot size is maximum in the evening.
- If there is foot injury or lesion give footrest i.e. do not walk, keep the leg elevated, do not touch the ground with damaged foot even once till foot lesion heals completely. Because of loss of sensation it is possible that the patient does not feel the pain to the damaged foot, and hence may neglect the injured foot. It is extremely important that instructions given by the doctor be strictly followed.
- CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY: Early consultation in case of injury or infection will result in timely treatment and avoid further damage.
- Tobacco because it constricts the blood vessels thus reducing blood flow to the feet.
- Removing your footwear and placing your feet on the floor of the vehicle, ground, attending holy places on bare feet.This may cause burns and injuries.
- Walking bare feet; use slippers even in the house.
- Using hot water bags; reduced sensation can cause burns.
- Strong antiseptics e.g. iodine, Savlon, hydrogen peroxide.
- Sitting in a cross legged posture.