American Diabetes Association foot care education is recommended for any person who is diabetic. Foot care education is an important part of health care for diabetes.
Diabetics have chronic problems with their feet because of nerve damage in the feet and the narrowing of blood vessels in the legs. Diabetic neuropathy is damage caused by diabetes in the nerves that provide sensation such as pain in the feet. Therefore pain caused by blisters or small cuts which most people would feel are not felt by some people with diabetes. Because of the narrowing of blood vessels in the legs, the blood circulation that is needed to fight infections in the feet is not sufficient. These two problems can cause a tiny cut to become extremely infected quickly and lead to gangrene of the foot. Gangrene can lead to amputation of the foot or leg. But the good news is that all these problems can be prevented.
First and most important, if you have toes or feet that are blue or pale – this is a symptom of poor circulation. And if you feel numbness or tingling in your toes or feet, this is a symptom of nerve damage. If you have any of these symptoms you should talk with your primary care physician immediately.
Proper foot care education teaches several ways to prevent these problems from happening. First, is to make sure that your diabetes is under control by regular blood tests, diet changes and exercise. Controlling your diabetes will control damage to your feet.
Next is proper foot care. This includes regularly washing and inspecting your feet. Wash your feet with warm water and soap daily – and be careful that the water is not hot because with nerve damage you might not be able to tell. Dry your feet completely especially making sure that there is no moisture left between your toes – moisture is a breeding area for infections. Carefully inspect your feet for small cuts, breaks in the skin, blisters, corns or calluses. Corns or calluses should be treated by your physician or nursing staff. Small cuts should be treated with antibiotic ointments.
It is extremely important to keep your toe nails properly trimmed to avoid ingrown toenails as this can also be a source of infection or foot problems.
A diabetic should also have proper footwear including good fitting shoes and comfortable socks. This will prevent blisters, corns and calluses from developing. You should also have a good pair of walking shoes as walking is important for leg circulation as well as general overall health. And (this is extremely important) Never Walk Barefoot. This prevents small cuts, scrapes and other foot injuries.
If you are a smoker, get help in stopping, as smoking prevents proper blood circulation. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smoking is not only bad for diabetics but is a bad lifestyle habit for everyone.
If you notice that your foot feels hot, is red or if you are running a fever, it is extremely important for a diabetic to get to your doctor as soon as possible. Infections in the foot can get worse quickly and gangrene can develop quickly also.
The American Diabetes Association foot care education is recommended for any person who is diabetic. Foot care is extremely important.
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