The colder winter months can be a troublesome time of year if you are a diabetic.
The combination of poor blood circulation, nerve damage in your extremities and cooler temperatures can make your feet vulnerable to infection, serious complications or possible amputation.
If you suffer from diabetes, please take on these following tips to minimise your risk of winter foot problems
1. Keep your feet dry
Moisture that collects between your socks and your feet and toes can form maceration and cause fragility to the skin.
This fragility exposes the skin to greater risk of splitting and wounds.
The bacteria love the moisture and will often harbor between the toes where it is wet and warm.
Both the fragility and the bacteria can increase your risk of developing an infection.
If the heavy rain and puddles have left your feet wet, change out of your wet socks as soon as possible and towel dry your feet, paying close attention to the area between your toes.
2. Moisturise your feet
Use a moisturiser daily to keep your skin supple and free from itchiness or dryness.
Do not moisturise between your toes as this could lead to a fungal infection.
The best time of day is often last thing before you hop into bed as the moisturizer can remain on your feet and penetrate the skin as your sleep.
It also acts as a way of checking your feet for any scratches, cuts, bruises or blemishes that may have occurred throughout the day.
3. Avoid direct heat to your feet
We understand that your extremities can get bitterly cold and you want the quickest way to get them warm and comfortable.
However, please refrain from warming your feet by the fire or placing your feet on the heater.
With the potential for numbness caused by nerve damage, you may not be able to feel when your feet get too hot, which can result in second- or third-degree burns on your feet.
Please don’t use warming aids, such as electric blankets, heated shoe inserts and do not put your feet in hot water.
Test bath water with your hands or a thermometer first.
The best way to avoid burning your feet is to keep them away from direct heat and to use more natural ways of warming your feet such as woolen socks, slippers or an extra blanket over the feet.
4. Continue to exercise
Winter can be an easy time to post-pone or forfeit your exercise routine.
The days are shorter and morale is lower so we don’t get the required exercise we need.
Do you best to maintain a consistent exercise regime as it will help to regulate your diabetes and ensure good circulation.
You may have to think of ways to avoid the elements such as getting down to the local pool or heading inside to the gym for some time on the treadmill.
5. Get them checked by a Podiatrist
Winter is a great time to get your feet checked and help detect any diabetes-related foot issues early on so they do not become problematic.