As a diabetic patient, you should know the importance of paying special attention to your feet with regard to care, cleanliness, the cutting of nails, the types of shoes, the hosiery you wear and other matters concerning your feet.
Below are some of the important routines that should be observed when you are checking your feet.
You are advised to use a special pair of nail clippers specifically for cutting toe nails. Ordinary hand nail clippers are generally inadequate since toenails are much thicker than finger nails. Always use the points of the nail clippers for guiding your cutting and make sure that you cut straight across the top of the nail. Do not under any circumstances cut your nails too short and you should never cut the corners of your nails too short either, otherwise this cuts into the nail groove.
A good time to cut nails is immediately after a bath or you have washed your feet, as the nails tend to be softer and therefore easier to cut with damaging them.
Along with washing your feet regularly with tepid water and using a mild soap, feet should be carefully dried all over, including in between the toes. It is important to wear a clean pair of socks, stockings or hosiery each day and do not wear the same pair twice.
If you have sweaty feet, cleaning the feet with surgical spirit after drying and subsequently dusting the feet with talcum powder, will minimise sweating and likewise if you suffer from dry feet, using a cream will help to keep them moisturised. If your skin is dry, you can also gently massage a light olive oil into your skin after bathing, but avoid rubbing too hard.
Avoid hot water bottles and if you use an electric blanket, make sure you remove it before you go to bed. By all means wear socks in bed, but be sure that they aren’t too tight. Also avoid any lengthy exposure to cold or dampness too.
To separate closely overlapping toes, wind them in loose strands of lambswool, but do remember that lambswool is subject to shrinkage and therefore it is recommend that you place a ball-point pen or something similar in position and wrap the lambswool around both the pen and your toe. Then when you remove the pen, the wool will be bound loosely enough to allow for shrinkage.
Avoid using adhesive strapping directly over a wound. In the event of minor injuries to feet, apply a mild antiseptic solution or Savlon and use ordinary sterilised gauze to cover the would.
Do watch your feet for any signs of changes. You should seek professional advice from your foot practitioner if you notice nay pain in your feet particularly from swellings, or cracks in the skin or damage beneath a nail or corn. Also if you notice a change in colour of your skin on your feet, ankles or lower limbs.
A feature of diabetes is that you may not feel the cold or pain as well as other people and therefore it is doubly important that you take good care of your feet to make sure they aren’t affected, since you rely on them so much.
It is important for all patients regardless of age, to get corns and calluses treated by a qualified foot care practitioner and that the removal of these should not be attempted by the patient. Equally any corn cures used as medicaments in the preparations could have a serious effect on the patient too. Never use strong antiseptic solutions such as iodine or any so called ‘corn-cures’. Many of these contain a corrosive substance that will damage your normal, healthy skin.
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