7 Ways to Protect Your Feet and Limbs as a Diabetic

Keeping your hands, feet and extremities clean is an important aspect of personal hygiene, that is especially crucial for diabetics. Anything from infections, to the smallest of cuts, can lead to serious consequences for those afflicted by the chronic illness. Diabetes can cause nerve damage in the feet or reduced blood flow to extremities. This diminished sensation can lead to dangerous, unfelt damage such as ulcers, amputation or worse.

The good news here is that you can alleviate possible harm by keeping up good foot and limb care practices. So whether you’re a diabetic or not, here are some tips for keeping your feet, hands and limbs clean and healthy:

  1. Inspect your feet and shoes regularly: With reduced feeling, it’s important to make sure foreign objects or inspections don’t pop up unexpectedly. Keep an eye out for anything unusual and shake out your shoes before putting them on.
  2. Stay active: Exercising and being active is great for your overall health and to keep blood pumping throughout your entire body, especially the feet and hands. Wiggle your fingers and toes in shoes or hand coverings
  3. Practice good hygiene: Trim your nails regularly, bathe limbs in lukewarm (rather than hot) water, moisturize your feet (but not in between the toes so as to prevent infection) and use mild soap to protect sensitive areas of skin.
  4. Wear the right gear: Wear only clean, dry socks that comfortably fit you (IE no elastic bands or wool material) and orthopedic shoes that contour to your foot’s dimensions. Never walk barefoot and wear socks to bed if you get cold at night, rather than using a heating pad or warming device.
  5. Don’t smoke: This one’s pretty easy. Not only is smoking horrible for your health,  but it also restricts blood flow in the feet and body.
  6. Talk to your doctor: Getting periodic foot exams is usually a good call, especially for diabetics. Corns and calluses are also issues a doctor should always address. If you think you’re eligible for Medicare or some specialty shoes or socks to help alleviate issues, be sure to ask your physician about that too.
  7. Keep your glucose in check: As you should with traditional diabetes care, be aware of glucose levels and maintain healthy diabetes habits. These should align with good foot and hand care as well.

Do you have any issues with diabetes or foot and limb care? Tell us about them in the comments!

Photo credit: Nick Harris

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