Global statistics state that 60% of the diabetics are known to have foot neuropathy and almost 1 in 5 diabetic foot ulcers end in amputation. This is a known fact. But what is unknown is that the simple steps at home reduce this likelihood of amputation by 85%.
In a normal lifetime the feet support a human being for over a hundred thousand steps, which is roughly equal to 4 times around the world. So it’s time you show how much you support your feet!
Here is the list of basic steps which u can follow at home for giving a 3-D (Do’s, Don’ts and Danger signs) care to your feet.
- Check daily: Attend to your feet daily before u retire to bed. See with help of a hand mirror or ask a kin to check the upper and lower part of the foot, to look for any danger signs which are described below.
- Clean at least twice a week: Wash with soap water thoroughly on top and bottom of the feet including in between the toes. Don’t use any brush or stone which can cause skin damage.
- Dry completely: As much as the washing of feet is important, so is the drying., because any remnant water can cause fungal growth. Drying is advised with the help of a soft towel in a patting motion rather than rubbing.
- Moisturise the skin: Apply a moisturiser prescribed by your doctor on the upper and lower portion of the feet. This removes the dryness and hard skin formation. In between the toes apply dry talcum powder instead of the wet moisturiser.
- Nail care: Use the special clippers for the toes and not the one meant for the finger nails. These clippers cut the nail in straight direction instead of curved and thus prevent the toe nail from ingrowing. Don’t forget to file the sharp edges at the end.
- Appropriate footwear: Diabetic neuropathy patients require a particular pair of footwear well customised to their feet. A podiatrist prescribed footwear is always preferred. Consult the requirement of any insoles, orthotics or other foot-care products.
- Exercises: Regular walking and physiotherapy exercises as guided by the podiatrist improve the blood circulation to the leg and feet. These give relief from the cramps, numbness and pain in the feet.
- Control of diabetes: A neuropathy already set in is very rare to be reversed. However, proper control of diabetic status will prevent the further worsening of the condition. Proper diet, periodic sugar level checking and HbA1c levels every 3 months is advised.
- Visit the doctor: A podiatrist consultation is not only limited for the presence of danger signs, but also for knowing the initial severity of the neuropathy, foot architectural scanning,periodic examination as guided by the screening score and regular podiatry/pedicure care.
- Smoking: Smoking has been shown to add on to the effects of diabetes many times. It decreases the blood supply to the feet and thus causes high chances of gangrene formation.
- Sitting with cross legs: This is one of the silliest thing to be avoided but helps significantly. Whenever aware, avoid sitting with cross legs.
- Soaking of the feet: Many people think soaking of the feet in warm water or salty water is helpful in neuropathy. But the studies have shown that the soaking causes more harm than benefits, by taking out the moisture from the skin and increasing the hard skin formations.
- Tight socks: Tight socks impairs the circulation and cause swelling of the feet and hence to be avoided. Use loose,seamless and cotton/woollen socks.
- Barefoot walking: If a diabetic, then never walk barefoot. Neither outside nor inside the house. Always keep a pair of appropriate footwear handy.
- Inappropriate footwear: There is a long list of footwear types to be avoided in diabetics. Its rather easy to consult your podiatrist for the proper ones. For briefing, avoid the smaller sized ones, open ones and the ones with the fabric in between toes.
- Do anything uninspected: Make a habit of feeling with your hands before doing the day to day things with your feet.Let it be checking the temperature of bathing water or checking for any pebbles or nails in the shoes before wearing them.
- Heating pads/ campfire: Avoid completely using the hot pads or campfire for warming the feet during the winters. Remember, the problem is that your feet don’t feel anything.
- Bathroom surgery/ chemicals: Avoid treating even the smallest of the ailments by self and take an advice from the podiatrist whenever necessary.
- Pins and needles sensation, leg cramps, numbness over the bottom of feet or the feeling as if feet is on fire.
- Pain or difficulty in walking,swelling in the feet.
- Excessive smelly feet.
- Red spots, bruising, colour change.
- Cuts, sores, blisters.
- Ulcer, pus, discharge.
- Corns, calluses, hard skin.
- Ingrown toe nails or the Infected ones with thick/ brittle/ yellowish discoloration.
- Change in the structure of the toes, foot or sole.
Any of these danger sign necessitates your urgent visit to the podiatrist. Never hesitate to consult for the silliest of the reason. It is your foot and you have to act. Taking care of these simple things will definitely keep your feet far from the worse.