Foot Care for Diabetics
If your loved one has developed Type 2 Diabetes as she’s aged, she needs to keep on top of her condition to prevent any other health issues from developing. Diabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels get too high. This occurs because the body has stopped being able to create enough insulin to keep those levels at a safe level. Without enough insulin, glucose can’t get into your loved one’s cells as quickly as it should. It then builds up in the blood and causes high blood sugar levels.
Over time, these high blood sugar levels may damage the vessels and nerves in the feet. The nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy, can cause some foot problems as well as mask some foot problems.
If your loved one has diabetes, home care assistance can support her daily efforts to manage the disease. These efforts can include a specific diet, incorporating exercise into her daily life, or assessing them regularly for signs of damage.
Here are some ways to help keep your loved one’s feet healthy:
- Check them daily for any type of injury. Because diabetic neuropathy can cause feet to become numb and not always feel the pain associated with a cut or scrape, it’s easy for those areas to become infected without your loved one knowing. A home care assistance provider can help look for any new sores or ingrown toenails that might need medical attention.
- Wash them daily. Don’t soak them, but give a good washing each day with warm (not hot) water and soap. Then make sure to dry them well and apply lotion if dry skin is a problem. Never apply lotion between the toes. Use talcum powder between toes if needed.
- Trim the nails, but not too short. Your loved one might need help trimming her own nails. That’s where your home care assistance provider can help or you might have her visit a podiatrist. Nails should be cut straight across and left long enough to prevent ingrown toenails from developing.
- Since the feet often can no longer feel heat or cold very well, it’s important to prepare them correctly for the elements and not rely on signals from them about being too hot or too cold. If your loved one is walking on a hot, sunny day, make sure she’s not barefoot, even at the beach. Invest in some beach shoes that’ll protect her feet from the hot sand or cement around a pool. When it’s cold outside, wool socks and well-fitting warm shoes are the key to keeping her feet comfortable.
- Put her feet up. When it’s time to rest, putting your loved one’s feet up on an ottoman or the couch can help with blood flow. Encourage her to wiggle her toes and make sure socks are not too tight.
With proper care, your loved one’s feet will stay in good shape.