Monday, April 11, 2011

DIABETES MELLITUS - FOOT CARE – You can take care.

Foot problems and the dangerous consequences of it in diabetic subjects:

In diabetic subjects, loss of the foot and sometimes the loss of life are very well known. However what is not known is that, foot is the only organ in diabetes where effective prevention can be undertaken. Prevention of the complications of the foot can be done using simple techniques which will be detailed here. Unlike the brain, the heart, the kidney and the inside of the eye, feet is visible to us and so the status of the foot can be seen at least on a daily basis. What is also not known is the fact that once the complications of the foot set in, one ends up being admitted to the hospital more often than the complications of the other organs. Infections of the foot occur frequently requiring frequent hospitalization and the use of expensive drugs to control the infection. Thus neglected feet prove to be most expensive. The reality that one cannot walk and therefore become dependent on others for even for the simple basic things in life is the worst scenario an unfortunate person wakes up to suddenly.

The brightest side of things is that all this can be prevented by following some simple rules.

It's all about taking good care of your feet. Theses are some of the steps we can adopt.


1.      Take care of your Diabetes

Work with your doctor to make a diabetes plan that fits you.  This will help you to:

Know how and when to test your blood sugar.
Take prescribed medicines.
Eat regular meals that contain a variety of healthy, low-fat, high-fibre foods including fruits and vegetables each day.
Increase your physical activity each day.


2.      Check your feet everyday
You may have serious foot problems, but feel no pain. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails. Find a time (evening is best) to check your feet each day. Make checking your feet part of your every day routine.
If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help. You also can ask a family member to help you.

Make sure to call your doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after one day


3.      Wash your feet every day

Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water. Do not soak your feet, because your skin will get dry.
           
Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes. Use talcum powder to keep the skin between your toes dry.


4.      Keep the skin soft and smooth

Rub a thin coat of skin lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not put lotion or cream between your toes, because this might cause an infection.


5.      Smooth corns and calluses gently   

After bathing or showering, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses. A pumice stone is a type of rock used to smooth the skin. Rub gently, only in one direction, to avoid tearing the skin.
           
Do not cut corns and calluses. Don't use razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers -- they can damage your skin.
     
If you have corns and calluses, check with your doctor.


6.      Trim your toenails each week or when needed

Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry your feet.
Trim toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nail file.
Don't cut into the corners of the toenail.
If you can't see well, or if your toenails are thick, have a doctor trim them.

7.      Protect your foot at all times

Do not walk barefoot -- not even indoors -- because it is easy to step on something and hurt your feet.

Always wear footwear with soft insoles and firm outer soles to help avoid blisters and sores.

Choose socks made of cotton. They help keep your feet dry.

Check the insides of your footwear before you put them on to be sure the lining is smooth and that there are no objects in them.

Wear footwear that fit well and protect your feet.


8.      Protect your feet from hot and cold
     
Wear your footwear at the beach or on hot pavement.

Put sun screen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn.

Keep your feet away from radiators and open fires.

Do not put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.

Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.

Check your feet often in cold weather to avoid frostbite.


9.      Keep the blood flowing to your feet

Put your feet up when you are sitting.

Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.

Don't cross your legs for long periods of time.

Don't wear tight socks, elastic or rubber bands, or garters around your legs.

Don't smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet. Ask your doctor or nurse to help you stop smoking.


10.  Be more active
     
Walking, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet.
     
Avoid activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping.
     
Always include a short warm-up and cool-down period.
     
Wear athletic shoes that fit well and that provide good support.


Apart from the above 10 important steps: Always ask your doctor to do the following:

·         Check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet, ask him how often should it be checked

·         Tell you if you are likely to have serious foot problems. If you have serious foot problems, your feet should be checked at every visit to your doctor.

·         Show you how to care for your feet.

·         Refer you to a specialist, if needed.



MOST IMPORTANT ASK YOUR DOCTOR WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT WALK, WHEN SHOULD WEAR SPECIAL FOOTWEAR. WHEN SHOULD YOU STOP WALKING AS AN EXERCISE AND USE NON WALKING EXCERSISES? YOU MAY HAVE TO AVOID WALKING IF YOU HAVE A CONDITION CALLED CHARCOTS FOOT.

Remember an unprotected, ignorant or neglected foot walks to its grave.

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