Did you know that if you struggle with diabetes, you have an increased chance of developing foot problems? These problems are triggered by chronic, uncontrolled blood sugar.
High blood sugar damages your circulatory system and nerves over time, which can lead to conditions like peripheral vascular disease and diabetic neuropathy. When untreated, they can lead to significant pain and serious complications.
This can feel scary, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone—around half of people with diabetes develop foot trouble. Jennifer Tauber, DPM at New Canaan Podiatry, is here to provide personal treatments and therapies to manage and treat your foot issues at our New Canaan, Connecticut location.
What’s more? You can take steps at home to prevent diabetic foot problems from developing. Read more below to learn how to treat diabetic foot issues at home!
About diabetic foot problems
Diabetic neuropathy will cause nerve damage that reduces feeling in your feet. Because you cannot feel when your foot is blistering, cut, or irritated, the risk of infection and gangrene puts you at risk for amputation.
The damage to your circulatory system and blood vessels creates peripheral vascular disease. Uncontrolled diabetes prevents your feet from getting the blood supply that they need. Wounds and injuries to your feet take much longer to heal and have a higher risk of infection.
At-home ways to prevent diabetic foot problems
The best thing you can do is stop foot-related issues from starting. Here’s a look at some steps you can take at home to lower your risk:
Maintain proper foot hygiene
Take a few minutes daily to check the sides, bottoms, and tops of your feet, and your toes and heels. Look for signs of irritation, as spotting early prevents more significant wounds from developing.
When trimming your toenails, make sure to cut straight across. This will help prevent ingrown nails. You’ll also want to wash your feet regularly in warm, soapy water to make sure your feet stay clean.
After washing, dry your feet and dry between your toes. Be sure to apply moisturizer after drying to prevent rough skin.
Wear diabetes-friendly shoes
Having footwear that fits properly helps prevent blisters and other small foot wounds. Some people with diabetes wear specially designed diabetic inserts and shoes and succeed with them.
Shopping for shoes in the afternoon is essential because more swelling happens in your feet and will make your shoe selection more accurate. Pick shoes made from flexible materials, like soft leather, and wear socks.
Incorporate an active lifestyle
Moving your body and exercising improves circulation throughout your body. This helps combat the effects of damaged nerves and poor blood flow caused by diabetes. Exercising also helps to reduce blood sugar, which complements any dietary changes you make.
Studies have shown that walking regularly can slow or even prevent the progress of diabetic neuropathy. Make sure to talk to your provider before you start any new exercise.
Manage blood sugar
Managing your blood sugar prevents nerve damage and reduces further damage or pain with existing neuropathy. This is one of the most critical steps to protect your feet.
To manage your blood sugar, it’s essential to change your diet. Keeping healthy snacks, such as veggies and fruit, in your home in place of sugary treats can help. Oral medications and insulin also help to manage glucose levels before and after you eat.
At-home therapies to treat diabetic foot problems
If you’re already experiencing diabetic foot problems, these at-home therapies help to reduce symptoms and improve your foot health.
Fill a sealable bag with around two cups of crushed ice and one cup of cold water. Massage each foot for 5-10 minutes using the bag to help ease pain. Wear a sock or thin blanket between your skin and the ice.
Warm and cold soaks
Soak your feet in hot water for 2-4 minutes. Then, soak in cold water for 2-4 minutes. Repeat three times to help manage pain and swelling.
See a podiatrist for diabetic foot care
At New Canaan Podiatry, Dr. Tabuer offers foot care advice and support that helps to stop diabetic foot problems before they start. Dr. Tauber also provides the latest foot care for those already experiencing diabetes-related foot issues.
Our team generally advises a regular podiatric check-in and more frequent visits for existing problems. The foot experts at New Canaan Podiatry help to determine when you should seek care and how often to prevent complications.
For more help with diabetic foot care, contact us at our New Canaan, Connecticut office!