Diabetes: Tips for Cold Weather Foot Care
Diabetic foot care is important any time of the year, but colder weather can make keeping your feet healthy more challenging. Cold, dryness and moisture can increase the risk of a diabetic foot problem. Wearing protective diabetic shoes, diabetic socks and following a proper foot care routine can prevent diabetic foot problems.
Inspect Your Feet Daily
Avoid going barefoot in or outdoors. Inspect your feet and between your toes every day for blisters or cuts in the skin, changes in color, changes in odor, corns and calluses, sores and discharge. If you have trouble seeing your feet closely, use a long-handled or magnifying mirror or ask a friend or family member to help. Let your doctor know about any changes you find.
Choose the Right Footwear
Cold weather and dampness combined with decreased circulation can increase your risk for a foot ulcer. Your shoes and boots should provide comfort, warmth and proper padding. Make sure winter shoes and boots provide warmth, protection from snow and ice, and proper padding. Poor footwear can cause serious problems for people who have diabetes, such as infections, foot ulcers and amputation. Avoid shoes with man-made materials and other materials that can cause foot sweat.
Wear Breathable Socks
Choose appropriate socks that will keep your feet warm and dry. Wool or moisture-wicking socks help control foot sweat. Paleness and skin saturation are signs that your feet have been exposed to too much moisture.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Moisture that accumulates on your feet and between your toes for too long causes bacteria to gather. Wear waterproof boots with diabetes socks that fit properly in inclement weather. Avoid icy puddles and wet snow that can make your socks, shoes and feet damp. When the shoes do get wet, change out your socks quickly and dry your feet thoroughly and gently. Place wet shoes by a heater to dry, and do not put them back on while they are too hot, or wear a different pair of shoes the following day.
Moisturizing Is a Must
Use a hydrating foot cream or good moisturizer after bathing your feet daily to help prevent dry skin, cracks and infection. Avoid applying too much moisturizer between your toes because too much moisture can make them susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections.
Trim Your Toenails
Trim your toenails regularly and properly. Ingrown, untrimmed or infected toenails cause infections and ulcers. You can trim your toenails after a shower when they are softer. If your toenails are discolored or thick, or you have corns or calluses, seek assistance from a medical professional instead of cutting your toenails yourself. Talk to your physician about how to trim your toenails correctly.
Be Careful When Using Warming Devices
Nerve damage (neuropathy), or loss of feeling in your feet caused by diabetes, can make keeping your feet warm in cold weather risky. Use caution when using electric blankets, hot soaks, and heating pads or other methods of warming your feet. Never use your feet to test water temperature, since you can easily get burned; use a thermometer or get a friend or family member to check the temperature.
Control Blood Sugar
Check your blood sugar regularly and work with your doctor to control your blood sugar. Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking are also essential parts of diabetic foot care.
Carmichael’s Diabetic Foot Care Services
Some diabetic or therapeutic shoes require a prescription and have to be custom made. Carmichael’s has a Certified Therapeutic Shoe Fitter on staff to help meet the needs of patients living with diabetes. We have a great selection of top-quality diabetic shoes from which to choose. Fill your prescription medications at Carmichael’s Crowley Retail Pharmacy. Our Compounding Pharmacy in Crowley also can compound custom creams, lotions and ointments with a doctor’s prescription.
Contact one of our specialists at any Carmichael’s location to find out more about our services and what your insurance will cover.