A diabetic foot ulcer—or a chronic wound on the foot—is very common when you have diabetes. You may wonder why that is. For those who have diabetes, nerve function, blood flow and skin health is often compromised. So, if a person with diabetes gets a foot wound, he or she may not be able to feel it due to a lack of sensation in the foot. Then, with impaired circulation, it won’t heal properly.
What may seem to be a minor blister on your foot can become a very serious problem if left untreated—and can even lead to amputation.
To prevent the worst-case scenario of amputation, it’s important to become familiar with this condition and be proactive with your health.
Below is helpful information if you’re at risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers.
- Check and control blood sugar levels. This goes almost without saying. If you have diabetes the key to minimizing related complications is controlling your blood sugar levels.
- Examine your feet often. People with diabetes should check their feet for any callouses, irritation, blisters, skin tears or open wounds.
- Wear proper and fitted shoes. Wearing unsuitable shoes can lead to ulcers, this could be avoided by wearing breathable and appropriate shoes.
- Find something unusual? Immediately seek a foot specialist. Visit a doctor or podiatrist quickly if people find anything suspicious with their feet. Getting ahead of this problem is a key to good results.
- Get your feet examined annually. Constant diabetic foot exams can help prevent severe foot health issues.
- Wash feet with warm (not hot) water. Do not soak your feet. Dry off your feet and apply lotion on top and bottom of foot, never in between toes. If the skin on your feet stays moist, bacteria or a fungus can grow, which can lead to infection.
- Never walk barefoot. Whether you’re inside or outside, always wear socks or slippers. Double check for objects inside your shoes and if the lining is flat.
- Don’t remove corns or calluses yourself. This could lead to ulcers and infection. Additionally, don’t use over-the-counter products to remove them—they could burn your skin.
- Keep blood flowing. When sitting, put your feet up and wiggle your toes for a few minutes a couple times a day.
- Pick feet-friendly activities. Like bike riding, swimming or walking. Consult with your doctor about which activities are safe for you to engage in and which to avoid.
Helpful tips for diabetics to maintain blood sugar
- Eat a balanced breakfast, and make it early. While minimal research has been done, results show to help control blood sugar. Skipping breakfast and eating lunch have shown to provoke insulin response. Try eating plain greek yogurt, eggs, fruit or a side of veggies with avocado slices for breakfast.
- Have an early dinner. Eating dinner before 6 p.m. could help the impact of fluctuating blood sugar levels. If this is a daily challenge, try to meal prep or have plain proteins and versatile whole grains on deck.
- Take a two-minute walk. Some days could be too busy for a lengthy 20 to 25 minute workout. However, taking a two minute walk or having consistent movement after each meal can help reduce blood sugar levels.
- Meditate. Take a deep breath and say “Woosah”. When experiencing a stressful experience, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline, which are hormones. These hormones are beneficial to readjust and conserve energy during a crisis. Unfortunately, this can alter your insulin as more sugar is released from your liver to supply energy. The impact of the short-term crisis can prolong typical stressors that lead to higher blood sugar levels. Yoga practices are proven to better blood sugar control and improved blood sugar levels over the course of three months.
- Cut out diet drinks. Artificial sweeteners and diet sodas can let the body mistake it for consuming sugar. It releases insulin without the need to bring blood sugar down. Over time, this pattern can result in faulty insulin receptors and a higher risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Try to drink naturally flavored seltzer water, tea, unsweetened coffee, plain water, and refrain from artificial sweeteners.