When you think about cultivating a diabetes-friendly lifestyle, it’s easy to think of the foods you eat and of monitoring your blood sugar. And while your diet and blood sugar levels are undoubtedly vital, they’re far from the only concerns.
While managing diabetes, your foot health should be among your top priorities. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to stave off diabetes-related foot problems — and simple practices go a long way.
If you have diabetes, read on to learn why caring for your feet is important, plus smart ways to do so.
Diabetes interferes with the way your body creates or uses the hormone insulin. As a result, you can develop chronically high blood sugar, also called glucose. When your blood sugar levels frequently spike or stay high, a range of issues can impact nerves, blood vessels, and tissues throughout your body.
For these reasons, diabetes is linked with numerous issues in your feet, including:
Diabetic foot ulcers paired with nerve damage can be quite dangerous. If you lose sensation in your feet, you may not notice a small cut or injury. From there, you run the risk of an infection that can spread. In severe cases, this can lead to the need for foot amputation.
Serious foot conditions aren’t a given when you have diabetes. Because you hold a heightened risk, however, developing habits that keep your feet healthy is crucial.
For starters, follow your doctor-recommended treatment plan, including lifestyle changes and taking your diabetes medication as prescribed. Meanwhile, aim to see a foot and ankle specialist at least once each year. Beyond annual checkups, schedule an exam any time you notice unusual symptoms, such as discoloration or tingling sensations in your feet.
Additional diabetes foot care habits to embrace include:
If your feet tend to sweat a great deal, apply an antiperspirant to the bottoms of your feet. Wearing a clean pair of socks each day can also help keep your feet healthy and infection-free.
If you notice a minor cut on your foot, keep it clean, dry, and protected as it heals. Top an actively bleeding wound with gauze or a clean cloth and apply firm pressure with your hand. If the bleeding continues for up to 30 minutes, seek professional wound care.