How to Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcers?
Foot care among diabetic patients play an inevitable role in the prevention of infection and necrosis, neglecting which will increase the severity and leave them no other option but a diabetic foot ulcer amputation. The International Diabetes Federations has reportedly recorded that the probability of people with diabetes to require an amputation is 25 times more likely than those without this metabolic condition. The fact that diabetes patients do not sense a wound due to nerve damage makes it even more difficult for them to notice a prevailing cut or sore. Hence diabetes patients will require rigorous attention to be given to their foot with specialized Diabetic Foot Ulcer Care.
Constantly checking your feetKeeping in mind that diabetes could hinder the ability to sense pain caused by a wound, it is imperative that the patient constantly checks their feet for any cuts, cracks or blisters and not let go even minor signs of a wound. To check the bottom of the foot, use a mirror or have somebody from the family or friend check this on a daily basis.
Proper foot hygieneKeep your feet clean by washing with lukewarm water and soap. Then dry them gently with a towel not leaving the gaps between the toes. To avoid blisters, use a moisturizer on top and bottom of the foot (but not in between the toes) and apply talcum powder around the foot and in between the toes. Have trimmed toenails to avoid protruded edges. For patients with nerve damages, it is advisable not to trim their toenails themselves and consult a podiatrist for even minor foot procedures.
Wear the right shoesChoose your shoes in a way that it is not too tight to rub against your skin causing blisters and loose and comfortable enough avoiding the cramping of toes. It is advised that you wear custom made orthopedic shoes that are designed to fit your foot size and shape. This implies to situations while walking indoors and outdoors, in order to reduce the risk of an injury. Your clinician would be able to provide prescription of the same.
Quit SmokingSmoking can aggravate blood flow issues of your feet as it immensely influences blood circulation. This can intensify sensation related problems in your feet. Hence it is important to quit or take a physician’s help to get out of the habit of smoking.
Timely Check-UpsPatients with diabetes should make sure they have their foot examined yearly involving a physical exam. You should also take efforts to understand and follow the timely recommendations given by your physician about foot care.
Diabetes is a condition that never goes way, no matter you are newly diagnosed or you have been living with it for years. Dealing with it can pose a challenge on you as it becomes solely your responsibility to manage it through your diet, exercise or various other tasks several times a day. Your physician can only give you inputs and guidelines to manage your blood sugar levels while it is you who will have to religiously follow the instructions to keep yourself healthy. You along with your physician will know how to plan a chart for your routine diabetes care as it is not the same for everyone. Diabetes management may include meal planning, physical exercises and constant blood sugar checks. Adding to this, one’s emotional response to diabetes, their stress levels and imbalances also account to planning a healthy way of life. While the need to consider and follow various aspects in your daily life may seem complicated, this complexity can be broken down by efficiently planning and managing diabetes. Below are factors that needs to be considered as a part of diabetes management.
Nutrition in wound healing goes hand in hand with medicinal care for diabetes. Patients with diabetes should have food depending on the influence it has on their blood sugar levels. Each type of food may contribute differently to blood sugar and it is important to be aware of the same. As much as its important to choose the right type of food, it is also important to understand the right quantity to consume.
Measures for Food Control
CarbohydratesCounting on carbohydrates becomes a vital part in controlling diabetes as carbs that break down into simple sugars is what causes your blood sugars to rise. This causes the pancreas to release a hormone named insulin, that aides in absorbing sugar from the blood. Patients who may have mealtime insulin, should know what and how much to eat based on the carbohydrates present in the food so that you get the adequate amount of insulin.
Balanced DietAs you choose foods with more fiber, less calories, low sugar content, low saturated fat and trans-fat, you should also know the portion size of your meal. Having a balanced diet with one half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of it with grains and the other quarter with proteins is considered ideal. It is always recommended to discuss the meal plan with your dietician to obtain healthy results.
Balancing meals and medicationYour food intake can be directly proportional to the medications you take, particularly insulin. Too less food may result in low blood sugar levels(hypoglycemia) while too much food may contribute to shooting up your blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Hence talk to your physician to know the best ways to balance your meals in proper coordination with your medications.
Avoid sugar sweetened beveragesSugar sweetened beverages are considerably high in sugars and too low in nutrition. Hence patients with high sugar levels are advised to keep away from juices, sodas and other sugar sweetened beverages.
As much as it is important to focus on the diet for diabetic foot ulcer healing, staying active is also important as it helps your body to efficiently use insulin. Any physical activity uses blood sugar for energy. Hence, the more dedication you show to keep yourself active with mild to heavy exercises, the better it is to keep your blood sugars under control. Below pointers tell you how.
- Talk to your doctor and understand the right type of exercise for your body nature
- Schedule your exercises at a time in accordance to your meal and medication schedules
- Too much exertion may lower your blood sugar levels and make you weak, irritable or confused. Hence always check your blood sugar levels before and after your exercise
- Keep yourself properly hydrated while exercising as this can also affect blood sugars.
- Keep a snack or glucose tablets handy which may help in situations of low blood sugar levels during exercise.
- Depending on how your body reacts to exercises and insulin management, adjust your medications by closely following your numbers and consulting your doctor for a change in dosage if required.
A small cut or wound on your foot can lead to serious complications if you have diabetes. Hence it is important to take care of your foot by constantly checking for blisters, redness, cuts, swellings or any nail problems. Diabetes foot ulcer home remedies may be listed as below:
Inspect the top and bottom of your feet, including the areas in between your toes, on a daily basis. Make use of a mirror to check the bottom surface.
Wash your feet gently with lukewarm water and towel it carefully by patting it gently around and in between the toes.
Moisturize your feet to avoid dryness which may result in itching and blisters. It is advised not to moisturize in between the toes as it may lead to a fungal infection.
Have trimmed toenails to avoid protruded edges. For patients with nerve damage, it is advisable not to trim their toenails themselves and consult a podiatrist for even minor foot procedures.
Wear clean and dry socks and change them on a daily basis.
Wear shoes and socks that are specially designed for diabetic foot care according to the shape and size of your foot.
Never walk barefoot, not even inside the house and make sure you shake the shoe before wearing it, to remove any possible stone or foreign body.
For a healthier foot, take care of your blood sugar levels and have periodic tests performed on your foot that can prevent foot complications due to diabetes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Proper foot care, maintaining healthy values of blood sugar, exercise and routine check-ups can reduce the risk of amputation.
Preventive measures like systematic foot care, not smoking, regular exercise and a balanced diet form a part of self-care for patients with diabetes. This however should be practiced with the suggestions and advise given by your doctors with timely follow-ups.