Once diagnosed as diabetic, the feet remain at a constant risk of developing infection which may range from small ulcers to frank gangrene requiring amputation. Hence precautionary measures should be meticulously followed to prevent this catastrophic event. The following are guidelines for diabetic patients which could be of significant help.
DO’S (What you should do)
• Inspect the feet daily for blisters, cuts, and scratches. The use of a mirror can aid in seeing the bottom of the feet. Always check between the toes.
• Wash feet daily. Dry carefully, especially between the toes.
• Avoid extremes of temperatures. Test water with hands or elbow before bathing.
• If feet feel cold at night wear socks. Do not apply hot water bottles or heating pads. Do not soak feet in hot water.
• Inspect the inside of shoes daily for foreign objects, nail points, torn linings, and rough areas.
• If your vision is impaired, have a family member inspect feet daily, trim nails, and buff down calluses.
• For dry feet, use a very thin coat of lubricating oil such as baby oil. Apply this after bathing and drying the feet. Do not put the oil or cream between the toes. Consult your physician for detailed instructions.
• Wear properly fitting stockings. Do not wear mended stockings. Avoid stockings with seams. Change stockings daily.
• Shoes should be comfortable at the time of purchase. Do not depend on them to stretch out. Shoes should be made of leather. Running shoes may be worn after checking with your physician.
• In winter take special precautions. Wear wool socks and protective footgear, such as fleece-lined boots.
• Cut nails straight across.
• Avoid crossing your legs, as this can cause pressure on the nerves and blood vessels.
• See your physician regularly and be sure that your feet are examined at each visit
• Be sure to inform your podiatrist or chiropodist that you are diabetic.
DON’T s (What you shouldn’t do at any cost)
• Do not smoke.
• Do not walk on hot surfaces such as sandy beaches or the cement around swimming pools.
• Do not walk barefooted.
• Do not use chemical agents for the removal of corns and calluses.
• Do not use corn plasters.
• Do not use strong antiseptic solutions on your feet.
• Do not use adhesive tape on the feet
• Do not soak feet
• Do not wear garters.
• Do not wear shoes without stockings.
• Do not wear sandals with thongs between the toes
• Do not cut corns and calluses.
Dr. Ketan Vagholkar
Consultant General Surgeon
The Apollo Clinic, Thane.