Holiday Tips for Diabetic Foot Care
The holiday season can already be pretty exhausting on its own. Family gatherings. Office parties. Kids’ Christmas programs. Gift shopping. Traveling. Meal preparing. It goes on and on.
If you live with the effects of diabetes, the holidays can be even more of a challenge. Not only are you tasked to keep up with all the seasonal rush, you also must maintain your blood sugar and health while doing so!
We want your holidays to be a time that focuses on your friends and loved ones; not on any diabetes-related problems that might get in the way. That goes double for your feet, which tend to be among the most vulnerable regions of your body to this condition.
The best way to avoid worrying about problems is to keep them from happening in the first place! By taking proper preparations, and keeping the following diabetic foot care tips in mind, you can greatly reduce your risks of a festivity-interrupting incident.
The One Tip to Always Remember
If there is only one thing you can keep in mind regarding your diabetic foot care, it is this: inspect your feet every day.
Because the effects of diabetes can reduce the abilities of your feet to heal from injury and sense when an injury occurs (due to poor circulation and nerve damage, respectively), there is a risk that something amiss can go undetected and turn into a big, infected problem over time. By taking a moment every day to check your feet for trouble, you are getting the drop on anything wrong before it has the chance to worsen.
Commit to a convenient time to inspect your feet. This can be before or after you get in the shower, or right before you get in bed—a time that can feel natural and easy to you. (And also a time that’s not going to get interrupted by the holiday run-around!)
Be sure to look over both the tops and bottoms of your feet, as well as between your toes. If you have trouble accessing every part, a mirror can help, as can a loved one. You can also feel along each foot with your hands for signs of trouble.
Cuts, nicks, scrapes, corns, calluses, and discolorations are worth keeping an eye on, as well as anything else that might look out of the ordinary. If you find something abnormal, tell us about it. We may ask you to keep an eye on its condition for a few days, or come right on in to examine or treat it at our office.
Wear Sensible Shoes
Whether you are a Black Friday warrior or simply a hob-nobber at a big holiday party, odds are good you will be spending significant time on your feet during certain days.
While the occasion might seem fitting for fancy footwear, avoid extreme or uncomfortable shoes whenever you can. Those high heels or tight dress shoes aren’t just going to make you miserable the whole time; they can also cause excess friction and force against your feet, increasing the potential for developing sores and blisters.
If you have custom orthotics or specialized shoes, always be sure to use them. If you have not been prescribed these items, your footwear should still be sensible and comfortable. Properly fitting sneakers and breathable, seamless, moisture-wicking socks are best.
The right shoes and socks can also be protective armor for your feet. Always avoid walking barefoot when you can. We can help you find your ideal shoe options.
As we head into winter, the atmosphere tends to dry out. Once again, our feet tend to be more vulnerable to drying out—and that’s whether you have diabetes or not!
However, if you do have diabetes, cracked feet due to dryness can become a problem. Moisturizing daily with a good lotion can help combat dry skin and keep your feet feeling healthy. Make it a part of your foot care self-exam!
A thin coating of lotion is recommended, as too much moisture can actually cause harm as well. Make sure you keep the area between your toes dry, as excess moisture tends to get trapped here.
If You Are Traveling…
A long car or plane trip is a common part of many families’ holiday plans. In most cases, common sense tips such as those above will still be more than applicable on your journeys. There are still a couple things to keep in mind, though.
Take some time to keep circulation flowing in your feet. Try not to spend all your car or plane ride sitting; pull off to a rest stop and walk around, or periodically stand and take a brief walk up and down the plane aisle (when allowed, of course!).
Sensible shoes are once again stressed here, but also keep in mind that you will have to go through airport security if flying. Make sure your footwear is easy to remove and put back on.
If you happen to be recovering from a diabetic wound and have been given prescription footwear to wear, you should not have to remove your shoes. We can provide a signed note explaining the situation. Ask to speak to a TSA supervisor if needed.
A Toast to Family, Friends, and Your Health!
No matter where you go or what you do through the end of the year, we wish you wonderful memories and the love of good company.
If you ever have any questions about the best footwear, products, or practices to take care of your feet when you have diabetes, we are here for you! With periodic exams, we can also track your foot health history and be a valuable resource no matter where life takes you!
Call our Jasper office at (812) 481-7200 or fill out our online contact form to request an appointment with us. We’ll always be happy to see you.