Diabetic Winter Foot Care: Our Top Tips for Healthy Feet
Each winter in the U.S., approximately 15-20% of people who live with diabetes have to visit the hospital because they contract a foot ulcer or infection that in some cases leads to amputation. Today, Dr. William Buffone of North Fork Podiatry and Three Village Podiatry is sharing his top tips for proper diabetic winter foot care.
Winter moisture, dryness and cold can easily cause decreased circulation and numbness, increasing the risk of a diabetic foot problem.
Following are 7 important tips to keep diabetic feet healthy.
1. Examine your feet daily. If you have diabetes, you need to have a daily ritual for examining your feet and stick to it. Carefully inspect all the pressure areas of your feet and in between your toes, looking for any discharge, breaks in the skin, changes in color or odor and/or painful calluses or corns.
2. Wear proper footwear. Winter cold, together with reduced circulation in your feet, can elevate your risk for an ulcer. To address this, make sure your winter shoes and boots provide warmth, defense from snow and ice, and sufficient padding. They should also be roomy enough not to restrict blood flow to your feet.
3. Make sure your feet are kept dry. Walking through icy puddles or wet snow can be dangerous for a person with diabetes. Moisture that accumulates for too long between your feet and socks, and in between your toes, allows bacteria to grow. If your feet do get wet, change your socks as soon as possible and dry your feet carefully and completely, including between your toes.
4. Moisturize your feet. Poor circulation and diabetic nerve damage can diminish the functioning of the moisturizing glands of your feet. The dry winter heat can make your skin break down. Ask your podiatrist to recommend a good moisturizer to use after bathing.
5. Keep your toenails trimmed. Toenails that are untrimmed are a frequent cause of infections and ulcers and can lead to amputation in some cases. Ask your podiatrist for advice regarding how to properly trim your toenails or schedule an appointment to have them trimmed professionally.
6. Avoid burning your feet. Be careful when using heating pads or electric blankets, soaking your feet, or warming them on a radiator because you could seriously burn them and not even be aware of it. Check the water temperature with a bath thermometer or your hands before putting your feet in.
7. Keep your blood sugar under control. Because your feet soak up much of the daily wear and tear of your body, they are one of the first places inadequate diabetes control will become evident.
If you are a patient with diabetes and are worried about the condition of your ankles feet, and toes, or if you are experiencing pain in your feet or heels or have any other problems with your feet, call the office of Dr. William Buffone of North Fork Podiatry and Three Village Podiatry today to schedule an appointment today.