The two main causes of foot problems in diabetics are numbness and poor circulation, which can result in even the most minor injuries becoming infections. Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the feet and legs, which in turn results in cold, painful feet.
The key to maintaining healthy feet is to examine them regularly and keep them as clean as possible. Check for any cuts or grazes, swelling or discolouration. Wash and dry carefully on a daily basis with lukewarm water and mild soap, particularly between the toes. Moisturising cream can be used to keep feet soft but this should be avoided between the toes as the skin may then become too moist.
Bad circulation can lead to problems as it can be difficult to feel heat, cold or pain. For example, burns from hot bath water are common but can be avoided by checking the water temperature with an elbow before stepping into it.
Toenails should also be carefully looked after to avoid infections. Toenails should be cut straight across the nail neatly. Corns and callouses should be dealt with by a doctor or podiatrist rather than using over the counter remedies and should never be cut off. Always ensure new shoes are fitted correctly and broken in gradually, wearing them for a few hours at a time.
Smoking can also lead to circulatory problems so it is very important to give up.
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