The nerve and blood vessel damage caused by diabetes can become a problem for your feet if you develop neuropathy, which occurs in about 70 percent of people with diabetes. To ensure the best possible foot health, follow these easy tips to keeping your feet healthy longer.
- Inspect your feet daily for changes in color, sores, or cracked skin. A mirror on the floor can help with getting a better look.
- When stepping into hot water, such as a bath, hot tub, or shower, use your elbow to check the water temperature. Because people with diabetes tend to develop nerve damage in their feet, they may not realize if the water is too hot and could therefor scald themselves.
- Look for shoes with more depth in the toe box and good coverage on both top and bottom and without seams inside the shoe that can rub on your foot.
- Wear shoes at all times—even inside the house. With neuropathy, it’s difficult to feel small cuts, scrapes, or other hazards that might harm your feet. Worse, you might not notice the damage until a minor injury becomes infected.
- Avoid high-impact exercises that include bouncing, jumping, and leaping. Instead, consider walking or swimming to avoid putting too much pressure on your feet.
- Quit smoking! The dangers of smoking run from your head to your feet. The nicotine in a cigarette can decrease the circulation in your skin by 70 percent. If you smoke, you’re depriving your feet of the nutrient and oxygen-rich blood that keeps them healthy and fights infection.
- Consider investing in a pair of orthotics or extra depth shoes. A properly fitted pair of orthotics or extra depth shoes can prevent foot wounds by improving fit and reducing pressure, pain, and the chance of deformities.