Diabetes and the routines on a daily basis go hand in hand – having healthy and balanced meals, relaxing, getting enough sleep, doing some physical activity on a daily basis and monitoring blood glucose levels.
However, there is one more thing you should do on a daily basis, and that is checking your feet.
By doing that, you will stay a step ahead when it comes to the possible foot complications related to diabetes. It is not that hard all you need to do is perform self-exams on a regular basis.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be very elastic in order to do this exam at home.
In case you never had foot complications you can examine your feet once a week. In case you have a history of foot wound, or you have lost sensation in your feet you need to do this exam every single day.
Better safe, than sorry right? Belly flab or limited flexibility might make this exam hard to do on your own. If that is the case, feel free to ask for a caretaker or a companion to help. Below you will see 9 simple steps to make a diabetic foot check at home.
First clean your feet thoroughly, sit on a toilet, chair or bed in a well-lit room. Make sure that your legs hang comfortably right in front of you. Then you need to lift one foot over the other so you can quickly check it.
Bear in mind that the supporting leg needs to be relaxed.
With the help of a soft cloth or a bath towel dry the foot. Also, make sure to dry between the toes.
With the help of the hands rotate the ankle slightly in order for the sole to be angled upward and be visible. Make sure not to overextend the ankle. In case you cannot see the bottom of the foot, feel free to use a handheld mirror in order to see its reflection.
Heels – Feel for the cracked, dry or rough skin. You should bear in mind that even small fissures might become infected. Therefore just to be safe, moisturize on a daily basis with colorless, odorless lotion.
However, do not moisturize between the toes since bacteria love moist, warm places.
Balls of feet – Look for irregular textures and bumps. This part endures pressure when you walk. Therefore corns or calluses might develop. To reduce this risk make sure to have proper-fitting footwear.
Soles of feet – feel for lumps and bumps, that might be signs of bone or muscle injuries. Consult your doctor in case you notice open wounds known as ulcers or if the signs persist.
Feel the foot with the help of your hands, checking the top and bottom for any temperature changes or bumps from one part of your foot to another. Make sure to do the same procedure with your other foot.
You should do a visual inspection. Look for any abnormalities on top of the feet like corns, bruises, scabs or sores. Check the toenails and toes for proper length or nail color.
Tops of feet – Look for any signs of lowered blood flow, like shiny or thin skin, abnormal hairlessness, and temperature variation. Bear in mind that you can boost your blood flow with the help of physical activity and blood sugar control.
With the help of your fingers, spread the toes apart and look at them. Check every single toenail and the fleshy area around it.
Around toenails – search for ingrown toenails which are usually characterized by puffy, reddened skin around your nail. You should know that ingrown nail might need surgery if they are ignored for an extended period.
Toes – To test your blood flow, squeeze the balls of the toes, but do it gently. If everything is alright, regular color returns within 5 seconds. Discolored toes mean you have some circulatory issues.
Toenails – Check unpolished nails for flaking, thickness or discoloration, that might be symptoms of fungal infections. Consult your doctor about this, he or she might advise prescription treatment or over-the-counter treatment.
Keep a record of your self-exams. After every self-exam write down about any unusual temperatures, sores, corns, etc. Describe in detail how these irregularities smell, feel or look.
Make sure to compare these notes form exam to exam. In case any condition has worsened, or in case you notice new problems, consult your doctor immediately.
Yes, for most people warm weather is welcomed, but bear in mind that increased activity, sun, and sandals might stress your feet.
Therefore, when preparing to go outside, consider these following tips:
Get clippers since they are very simple and easy to control only with one hand. The clippers are less likely to lead to ingrown nails or nip the skin.
In case you have poor eyesight, history of ulcers or loss of feeling in the feet, seek professional care for your nails.
Proper foot care is important for people who have diabetes. From doctor checkups to self-foot exams, there are many ways to keep your feet in proper shape, catch an issue before it becomes serious and improve circulation.