Diabetic feet need lots of attention, but the truth is we often forget them until they start complaining. For a type 2 diabetic that is a bad thing. You must take care of your feet if you want to avoid serious complications.
Why are diabetic feet such a high priority?
Most of the amputations related to diabetes are of toes and feet. But the surgeons who do amputations say that over half of them could have been avoided.
What makes your feet so vulnerable? The cause is diabetic nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.
The longest nerves in your body run from your spine, down your legs into your feet and end at your toes. This makes them an easy target for peripheral neuropathy, one of the most common complications of diabetes.
When the small blood vessels of your feet are scarred and weakened by high blood sugar, nerve damage begins.
That's why diabetic feet become either numb or way too sensitive to touch. It's a sign that other complications are coming.
Some of the problems you may see in your diabetic feet are foot ulcers, infections, foot and toenail fungus, numbness and tingling, foot pain, and sores that will not heal.
The best thing you can do for your feet is to protect them. First, use diabetic socks, the kind that have no seams in the toes and do not bind at the ankles.
Your shoes need special attention too. To give your feet real protection, you must choose comfort, support and safety over style. Here's what to look for in diabetic shoes.
Dry skin is a symptom of peripheral neuropathy. Do not ignore it.
You may spend a little or a lot for foot lotions, but the important thing is to apply them every day.
You may not be used to caring for your feet this way. Make it part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.
Some lotions are made especially for diabetics but I have found that putting the word 'diabetic' on a product makes it cost more.
Any therapeutic dry skin lotion works quite well. My choice is a Walmart brand called Intense Therapy.
Lotions with capsaicin in them improve nerve pain and sensitivity. You will have to use capsaicin for a couple of weeks before you see improvement, but be patient.
Capsaicin works. The page on nerve pain tells you where to find this miracle lotion.
Foods with antioxidants can improve the neuropathy that causes foot pain and numbness.
They also improve blood flow and healing time. You'll find antioxidants in berries, grapes, wine, grapefruit, dark chocolate, plus a lot more. Look at the superfoods and pick the ones you like.
There are lots of antioxidant supplements out there, but the best way to get yours is by eating the superfoods.
Any kind of foot sore, blister or sign of infection needs to be taken care of by a professional - a nurse, diabetic doctor, podiatrist or walk-in clinic. Take your pick but do not try to treat it yourself.
Foot problems that get to that level are serious. Obey the doctor's orders and follow through. These are your only feet.
Have you done bathroom surgery? I have. But cutting out ingrown toenails or trimming nails by yourself needs to be a thing of the past.
Diabetic feet have areas of numbness, so it is too easy to cut more than just a nail.
Then you have an open sore to deal with, which will take much longer to heal now that you are diabetic.
Your podiatrist will take care of paring down nails, trimming ingrown toenails and anything else that involves sharp objects.
I have learned not to trust my diabetic feet to a grandma who needs glasses to read. Say it with me: no more bathroom surgery.
Diabetics get to know fungus really well. Here is why.
Because of type 2 diabetes, your body becomes a breeding ground for sugar-loving fungal infections.
Two things will help you fight foot fungus. One is good blood sugar control and the other is not letting your feet stay damp.
But dry skin is an enemy too. You will find dry skin is common in diabetic feet because of autonomic neuropathy.
Dry skin cracks, letting fungus in. So apply lotion to your feet every day. My podiatrist said the best time to do this is while your feet are wet after a bath or shower.
Then put on your diabetic socks. They let air flow around your feet so they do not get damp. There are also powders in the foot care section of your store that help keep your feet dry and free from fungus.
Discolored and thickened toenails need to be trimmed and thinned down. Your podiatrist knows how to do it safely.
He also has remedies for fungal nails. There are some you apply to your nails and others you take in pill form.
The pill has to be taken every day for three months, and while you are taking it you must get regular blood tests. Why?
Because these medications may cause liver damage. However, you may find it is worth the risk to get rid of stubborn toenail fungus.
There are also many home remedies you could try. The list is long and includes things like vinegar, bleach water, Vicks and tea tree oil.
They must be used faithfully for a year or more to get results, but if you are tenacious you may see the toenail fungus begin to disappear.
Watching out for your diabetic feet is a large part of being a type 2 or type 1 diabetic.
As we are living longer with this disease, taking care of our feet becomes more important.
Please protect your feet. They are worth whatever it takes to keep them for the rest of your life.Here's more information about fungal infection and why a diabetic should take it seriously.
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Fungal infection involves more than just ugly discolored toenails. They can sometimes lead to infection and amputation. Here's what you can do about toenail fungus.
Foot pain is often one of the first symptoms of diabetic neuropathy that gets your attention. Don't let it hold you back.
A diabetic foot ulcer is a wake up call that you need to take better care of your feet. Here's good advice.
Diabetic shoes, they win no fashion contests but they protect your feet, and that makes them beautiful.
Good socks for a type 2 diabetic are not a luxury, they are a necessity. Know what you're looking for.
Amputation is a scary subject, but we have to face it as we age with type 2 diabetes. Saving your feet and legs is possible if you will do these things.
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