9 Things You Can Do To Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcers
February 26, 2019
Did you know that up to 25% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer and that more than half of all foot ulcers will become infected? The saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This saying is particularly true about Diabetic Foot Infection (DFI). Diabetic foot ulcers can be avoided with proper prevention. Here are 10 ways to lower the risk of complications:
1. Keep your feet clean
Wash your feet daily with warm water and mild soap. Before washing, test the temperature of the water with your elbow to avoid any injury (not with your hands, because nerve damage can alter the sensation in your hands). After washing, dry your feet well. This is to avoid contamination that can occur in the form of fungus. You may want to finish off with moisturizer on the top and bottom of your feet (to reduce the risk of blistering) and talcum powder between the toes.
2. Choose the right footwear
Diabetic neuropathy causes nerve damage that alters the sensation in your feet. This makes bare feet vulnerable to injury in the event you bump your foot or step on something sharp. For this reason, never walk around barefoot!
Even still, wearing shoes does not completely remove the risk of injury. The wrong shape or size shoe can increase the pressure on your feet. More pressure on your feet can create more complications. So, try to find shoes that fit really well. You may want to avoid pointy shoes, heels, open-toed shoes, and sandals.
3. Keep your feet sweat-free
Keeping your feet clean is one thing; another thing to consider is sweat. You want to keep your feet sweat-free to avoid yeast and fungal infections. Multiple solutions exist to prevent these kinds of infections. Sweat-free or moisture-wicking socks can help. Also, foot lotions work well to regulate the sweat.
4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
If you are a smoker, you are very likely already aware of the health risks. Though you may not know that quitting smoking also reduces the risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers. Smoking decreases blood circulation, which can result in less sensation in your feet. So, kicking the habit will do wonders for your health, as well as the health of your feet!
5. Get the right nutrients
Try to consume foods that contain vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper. These minerals are essential for growing tissue and improving blood circulation! Check this list of nutrition-rich foods to inspire your diet.
6. Mind your body
Pain is a signal your body sends in order to protect you. If you have neuropathy, the nerve damage can result in overexertion. For instance, walking too long or standing in line for a long time after a minor injury can create pressure on your feet resulting in complications. Since you might not get a pain signal to let you know to take a rest, be mindful of overexerting yourself.
7. Check your feet daily
To prevent diabetic foot ulcers, it is essential to inspect your feet on a regular basis. Look for cuts, cracks, blisters and other signs of a fresh injury. Use a mirror if you’re having trouble seeing the bottoms of your feet. Once you feel pain, it is often too late. This is why it is important to get into the habit of checking your feet every day!
8. Inspect your shoes
Always inspect your shoes before wearing them. Shake your shoe upside-down: you may find something that could possibly damage your feet! If you’ve lost sensation in your hands, you can use the flashlight on your phone to get a better look inside your shoe.
9. Help blood circulation
Good blood circulation is important for tissue growth and fighting potential infection. A study published in the journal Circulation found that black tea improves blood vessel health. Also, eating foods rich in iron, such as red meat and spinach, helps to maintain good blood circulation.
What steps do you take to prevent diabetic foot ulcers? Let us know in the comments.