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People with diabetes tend to heal more slowly from cuts, sores and wounds, because the body’s processes that fight infection tend to respond more slowly.
Moreover, diabetics – and the aged – often have poor blood circulation and this slows down the healing process even further.
As poor blood circulation affects those parts of the body farthest from the heart, the feet are the most prone to be affected. This is why diabetes foot care is particularly important.
In addition, diabetes can cause nerve damage in the feet, and such damage often go undetected.
Diabetes can also affect the joints, making them stiffer.
Other complications that may arise from diabetes include kidney disease, which affects proteins that are involved in wound healing, and failing eyesight which prevents the diabetic patient from checking for foot problems.
Because these are serious conditions, diabetes foot care is best left in the hands of footcare professionals, such as chiropodists and podiatrists. If you have diabetes, consult your chiropodist / podiatrist for the care of corns, calluses, in-grown toe nails and other foot problems.
The foot is especially affected by diabetes because:
For diabetes foot care, your chiropodist / podiatrist will also advise you on daily measures to ensure that your diabetic feet do not lend themselves for diabetes foot problems to arise.
Wash your feet daily with lukewarm water, and using a mild soap. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly and carefully – especially the areas between the toes.
Inspect your foot daily or have a family member help you check for sores, cuts, bruises, changes to the toenails and other conditions. If you perform the inspection yourself, use a mirror to look under the foot.
Cut toenails straight across. Do not cut them around the corners. Use an emery board or file on sharp corners.
Do not try to remove corns and calluses yourself – have this done by a chiropodist / podiatrist as part of your diabetes foot care regime. Self-inflicted wounds are common among people with diabetic feet and, as explained earlier, such people may not even realise that they have wounded themselves.
It is also important NOT to use commercial corn cures for diabetes foot care, because such medications may damage the skin.
Wear shoes or sandals even at home, to avoid accidental damage or injury to the skin. At the same time, use every opportunity to ventilate your feet, for example by removing your foot wear when you are sitting down.
Regular diabetes foot care from a chiropodist / podiatrist is a key way to prevent problems and serious complications.
Proper diabetes foot care can save your feet. It can save your life!