Health & Fitness

Diabetics, this is why you must be extremely careful when soaking your feet

Soaking your feet in a tub of warm water sure feels good, especially if you’ve been standing all day. However, foot soaking is pretty much a no-no when it comes to diabetics. That is because people living with diabetes are at risk of several associated complications, especially nerve damage, corns, and calluses. Also known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the condition can lessen a diabetes patient’s ability to feel pain, heat, and cold perception, which often means that you may not feel a foot injury until the skin breaks down and an ulcer is formed.

Nerve damage or neuropathy can also lead to changes in the shape of your feet and toes — causing uneven distribution of body weight in the feet, making you more prone to foot injuries.

Neuropathy: It is a condition where the nerves in your feet start degenerating, making it difficult to gauge the temperature of the water you are soaking your feet in. This lack of sensation puts you at risk of potentially injuring or burning the skin on your feet, especially if you soak your feet in water that’s too hot or too cold. It makes you more susceptible to developing a foot ulcer.

Fungal infections: Another consideration is the propensity diabetics have to develop fungal infections on their feet. These infections usually arise due to improper drying of your feet, especially between your toes. Therefore, when you soak your feet and do not dry them thoroughly, it could put you at risk of developing a fungal infection, that could very quickly become a severe infection.

READ  Chhavi Mittal says consuming this mineral ‘is really important in the long run’

Dry feet: Diabetics with neuropathy often suffer from dry skin because the condition reduces the amount of hydration in their skin. That’s why keeping your feet immersed in water can dry out your skin even more. The water strips away the natural oils present on your skin that help protect them. Dry skin is more prone to cracks, which can put you at risk of fungal and bacterial infections.

But, foot care is essential

While soaking your feet is a no-no, foot care is a crucial part of diabetes self-management. Neglecting your feet can lead to serious problems later on; even minor issues, such as a scratch, can lead to an infection or foot ulcer, which, if not detected and treated early on, can increase the risk of amputation.

But by paying a little attention to your feet daily and taking care of your diabetes at the same time, you can greatly lower your risk of developing problems. The general rule of thumb for diabetics is to treat their feet with as much care as their face. Which means:

Checking your feet: Like you would check your face, analyse your feet every day for signs of any injuries or developing infections. This type of close monitoring goes a long way in catching and preventing any injuries or infections that can progress into a foot ulcer.

Moisturising is important: Using a thin layer of alcohol-free lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the top and bottom of your feet after you’ve washed them, is a good idea. However, avoid using lotion between your toes. Since that area tends to stay moist naturally, so applying lotion may lead to moisture build-up, which, in turn, can make them prone to fungal infections.

READ  Can Drinking Pineapple Juice Help Wisdom Teeth?

Wash and dry their feet regularly: Washing your feet every day and drying them thoroughly, especially between the toes is a great way to maintain foot hygiene, and foot care.

Reporting any signs of infection or injury: As a diabetic, small, insignificant injuries, if not managed properly, can lead to foot ulcers. Therefore, when there are any signs of injury or infection (such as discoloured nails, cracked feet, small cuts or scrapes) it is advisable to visit a podiatric surgeon or your treating physician and get the right care and treatment.

Wearing the right footwear: Another aspect of better foot care for diabetics is to wear the right footwear. It is recommended that you wear footwear that helps prevent the development of calluses (therapy corrective footwear), ones that are closed and help prevent injuries. The footwear should also fit well and not rub or injure your feet.

Finally, if you do want to soak your feet in some water, just to help you relax after a tough day, here are some precautions:

*Ask someone else to test the temperature of the water for you.

*Avoid soaking your feet for a long stretch of time.

*Ensure you thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes, after a relaxing soak.

*Avoid using any additives to the water such as Epsom salts as they can further dry out your feet.

(Dr Sanjay Sharma is a podiatric surgeon and wound care specialist, and co-founder of FootSecure, Yostra Labs)

Source Link

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: