Foot Health in Colder WeatherGolden Bingo Family
The fall and wintertime can be an incredibly busy time for many of us where we neglect to look at some of the smaller items in our health care; I’m talking feet. Foot care is one that many forget about and can become a serious issue in living with diabetes. The increase in caution is due to the simple changes in weather where winter moisture, cold, and dryness increase the risk of foot-related injuries and infections.
Every day you should set aside a time to go over the pressure areas on your feet, focusing especially on your toes. Any breaks in the skin, discharge, change in color, change in odor, painful corns and calluses can be the first signs of distress. When taking off your socks, remember to inspect them for any stones or rough edges. If you have difficulty accessing your feet, have a friend or family member do this for you.
Footwear can also be an often-overlooked piece of equipment. Winter cold and dampness along with decreased circulation can increase the risk for foot ulcers. A good winter shoe can provide warmth, protection from weather proper padding will give you enough room to not constrict the blood flow to the feet. Avoid shoes that lock in moisture. Remember that socks also go in with footwear; wool socks are best.
If water does penetrate your shoes, as is normal since wintertime becomes the wet season for many Texans. Keep in mind to keep your feet dry. Walking through wet puddles can be incredibly dangerous as moisture collects between your socks and feet. If the moisture gets between your toes for too long, this can invite unwanted bacteria to gather. When coming in from being outside, dry your feet carefully and gently. This is a great time to follow the first rule and inspect your feet. If you notice any spots that are pale, this is a sign of saturation so make sure you keep the area dry. Always make sure to change out wet socks as soon as possible.
Trimming your toenails falls in line with foot care because untrimmed & infected toenails can cause frequent infections and ulcers. Ask your diabetes doctor how to trim them correctly. Soak and soften your feet first in order to soften nails and then trim straight across. Nails that are thick, crumbly, or discolored may need professional help. When soaking your feet, make sure that you don’t burn your feet. When you get older, nerve damage inevitably occurs and this can make keeping warm in the winter a big problem.
Lastly, make sure you keep that good moisture around. Nerve damage and poor circulation can cause a decrease in the function of the glands that moisturize your feet naturally. Dry winter heat (think sitting in your car with the heater on), can make dryness worse and lead to feet cracking. Watch out for red, shiny areas. Use a good, thick cream after bathing and avoid leaving too much between your toes. Wipe away excess with a towel.
Foot care is the quickest way to see the onset of diabetes and diabetic control.