Best Foot Care Procedure for Diabetes

foot care of diabetic patient

Diabetes is a multi systemic disease which affects your whole body. It breaks the continuity of body systems gradually ultimately leading to death or chronically debilitating situation. Foot problems are one of the main complications diabetic patients are facing, but also addressing in very little. Following the correct foot care procedure in Diabetes has proven benifit to reduce the incidents of amputations from 85%.

How Important is Foot Care ?

More than half of the world diabetic population has foot complications. These complications ranged from abnormal discoloration or sensation to amputation of the limb. In between this spectrum of conditions people are suffering from non healing chronic ulcers and pain. Once an amputation proceed a person’s life expectancy reduces drastically.

Self Foot Examination

Self foot examination is one of the basic procedure. Because detecting an abnormality early makes doctors to act early and manage the condition without permanent damage. Following these simple steps is not hard, but it can make a big difference in improving quality of life.

  • Wash your feet daily. Use a mild soap and mild warm water to clean the feet. You have to make sure the water is not too warm, because if you are having diabetic neuropathy you will not feel until you get severe burns. Then dry your feet with a clean towel, especially between the toes. Using a untidy cloth cause introducing infections. In between toes ( web spaces ) are prone to become wet easily. So give an extra care in those places.
  • Check the bottom of your soles every day. Soles are the places that shows early changes. Look for red spots, blisters and ulceration. If you notice any of these things seek medical attention immediately. In case you are unable to visualise the bottom of your feet by yourself, use a mirror or get a relative or carer to do so.
  • Use a lotion to cover the bottoms and top of your feet at bedtime. It prevents your feet become dry. Never use lotion at day time, it gives slippery feet. Because diabetic patients are more prone to have neuropathy, slippery feet can cause injuries. Do not rub the lotion between your toes as it leaves moisture behind.
  • Clip the toe nails regularly. Toe nails are common things that cause injuries to your feet. And also unclipped to nails are infective organism friendly. Therefore it’s important to clothe toe nails. Clipping of the toe nails need to do horizontally. Because curved clipping can easily cut the adjacent skin. If an infection or inflammation developed in edges, it will be very difficult to heal.
  • In case there are changes in your skin or any difference that you are concerned about, contact your doctor or nearest hospital.
Diabetic foot examination by a doctor
Foot examination – image from Adobe stock

Selecting the Correct Footwear

Footwear is very important for a diabetic patient. Using a wrong pair of shoes makes things worse. Therefore diabetic patient would give an extra attention for selecting the correct shoes. The recommended method to select a footwear depend on the severity of the foot complications.

If you are not having any diabetic foot related complications you can ware a normal pair of shoes like others. But you should be in good attention. Anytime you see foot changes, it’s better to consult a doctor and change the footwear.

If you are having any foot related complications or foot arch changes, it’s recommended to ware a special tailor made pair of shoes. It prevents occurring further damage to your feet. There are specially made footwears for diabetic patients.

An evening would be the best time to buy a footwear. Because it is the time that you can have highest degree of leg swelling. If not followed this process, you will select a tight fitting shoes. It will cause bruising, blistering and ulcers. So always go for a loosely fitting footwear, it would be a safe choice.

How to Select a Correct Footwear

Selecting a suitable footwear is not a big issue, you think. Sure it is, if you are not having any diabetic complications. But wearing the correct footwear is very important for a diabetic patient.

So choosing a footwear has to get more attention. We have identified four simple steps to follow when selecting a pair of shoes. It’s better to read this carefully.

The footwear need to have correct length, width and depth. If the length and width will not adequate enough, your feet may tend to injured. Because there is a high chance of hitting the feet on rough surfaces. The depth of the shoes would be adequate enough to protect the sole from pressure. If the depth is inadequate your sole will damage with pressure points.

The pair of shoes you are buying would not be too tight or too loose. Wearing a tight footwear generates pressure points. It will cause frequent friction and causing ulcers. The danger is most of diabetic patients with foot complications have loss of sensation over feet. So there is a high chance of unable to detect the ulcers early. Too loose footwear is very easy to wear off from the foot. This will aggravate with the neuropathy of the patient is having. So carefully choose a footwear that adequately fitting to your feet.

The next thing is toes should rest flat and should not be cramped together. Cramped toes within shoes can exaggerate foot complications and also develop new problems. It will cause pressure sores and calluses. Sometimes wearing for long period of time may cause foot arch deformities and toe deformities like hammer toes.

The new pair of shoes you are buying should be deep enough to accommodate the whole foot. And the top of the shoe should not rub against the top of the toes.

Diabetic patient wearing tight footwear
wearing tight footwear – image from Adobe stock

Breaking the New Pair of Shoes

New pair of shoes can cause you harm if you wear them all the day because of their sharp edges. It will cause more harm than not using the proper footwear. So we noted a process called breaking a new pair of shoes. This is as follows.

On purchasing a new pair of shoes, wear them for about 30 minutes on the first day and check for development of pressure areas on the skin. The commonest pressure areas are the bony prominences like heel, big toe and middle joints of every toes. If your skin is fair enough, you can see redness over the pressure points. Carefully look for those areas. Then gradually increase the ware time and regularly check for problems. It reduces the chances of occurring harm to your feet.

Identify High Risk Foot

Not all diabetic patients have high risk feet. But most will have. So it’s better to identify what are the features of a high risk diabetic foot. If you have following features, you must give more attention to your feet and follow correct method of footcare.

  1. Presence of abnormal sensations such as walking on a cotton pillow, burning,  numbness or any sensation that is not normal
  2. Presence of abnormal pulsations like unable to feel the pulse, weak pulses
  3. Foot arch abnormalities 
  4. Presence of calluses, healing scars

If you are having even single high risk symptoms of above, you should immediately seek medical attention. The early intervention makes things easier and have a better life without fatal problems.

“Look after your feet as your life”

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Dr. Sapumal Edirisinghe

MEDICAL DOCTOR (mbbS)

I am a medical doctor who is passionate about the new medical knowledge and spread those to the world to make the world a better place.

Sapumal Edirisinghe

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