Daily Habits for Diabetic Foot Health – Your Guide to a Pain-Free Life

Foot problems are a common concern for individuals living with diabetes, often evoking fear of severe consequences like gangrene/ amputations. However, the good news is that taking simple yet proactive steps can significantly lower the risk of diabetes-related foot complications.

Effectively managing blood glucose levels is crucial for maintaining foot health, alongside implementing a consistent foot care regimen. According to Lancet estimates, approximately 101 million individuals in India, constituting 11.4% of the population, are grappling with diabetes. It is imperative to prioritize the management of diabetes, comprehensively understand the condition, and address it proactively to mitigate its impact on overall health, particularly foot health.

Understanding Diabetic Foot Complications
People with diabetes face an increased likelihood of experiencing foot issues if they have been diabetic for a prolonged duration, frequently encounter elevated blood sugar levels, are overweight, or exhibit elevated blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. This is especially pronounced if they have nerve damage (neuropathy) or poor blood circulation (vasculopathy) in their feet. That can result in a range of foot issues such as pain at rest/walking, non-healing wounds (ulcers), and infections.

Diabetic neuropathy is characterized by numbness and tingling in the feet, making detecting injuries challenging for the person. Additionally, individuals with diabetes face an increased risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD)- vasculopathy, which impedes wound healing due to reduced blood flow. This can lead to nonhealing wounds (ulcers) due to constant trauma, exacerbated by poor circulation, potentially resulting in severe infections, gangrene, and the need for amputation. Thus, it emphasizes the necessity of regular foot care to prevent complications and facilitate recovery.

Guide to Diabetes Foot Care for Happy and Healthy Feet

Our feet serve as the foundation of our body, providing essential support with every step we take. Ensuring proper care of our feet is vital, as it not only maintains posture but also prevents excessive wear and tear on joints, promoting overall health and well-being. Keeping your feet content and in good condition is essential for a healthy lifestyle.

  • Daily foot inspections are vital for diabetics. Check for injuries, cracks in the skin, redness, and any blisters. Early detection is crucial for preventing complications. Senior citizens must get their feet examined regularly, even by a younger family member with better eyesight.
  • Clean feet daily with warm, soapy water, focusing on toes before going to bed. Trim nails straight and smooth with a file. Better still a pedicure by a professional.
  • Keep feet moisturized daily to prevent dryness and cracks.
  • Choose comfortable shoes with support and soft soles to relieve pressure.
  • For diabetics with nerve damage, protect feet from extreme temperatures. Wear shoes on hot surfaces, apply sunscreen, and avoid heaters. Wear socks to bed. Use insulated waterproof boots in winter.
  • Stable blood sugar is key for healthy diabetic feet. Maintain it with a balanced diet, exercise, and regular monitoring. This safeguards your feet and overall health.
  • Nutrition is key for diabetic foot ulcer treatment. Opt for anti-fungal foods like garlic and apple cider vinegar, gluten-free grains, omega-3 sources like salmon and eggs, and immune boosters like garlic and oats. Prioritize calcium-rich foods like greens, soya, and dairy. Avoid sugary treats for stable blood sugar and healing.
  • Daily foot exercises benefit diabetics, boosting blood flow and muscle strength. Toe curls, ankle circles, and heel raises improve flexibility and circulation, reducing foot issues. Focus on upper body workouts and seated strength training, promoting balance with activities like yoga.

Remember, everyone’s needs are different, so it’s vital to seek personalized guidance from healthcare providers. Working closely with them ensures you taking the right steps for healthy and happy feet.

Dr Rajeev Premnath, General Laparoscopic Surgeon and Endoscopist, Minimally Invasive Proctology Department at Ramakrishna Hospital, Bengaluru

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