Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputation, because it slows the healing process of wounds and increases the risk of gangrene. Once gangrene has set in, amputation is often the only recourse. If you are diabetic, take a few minutes a day to care for your feet; this small time investment will reduce your risk of undergoing an amputation!
Especially when left untreated, diabetes can damage the nerves and cause a loss of sensitivity in the feet. A wound can therefore go unnoticed because you won’t feel any pain (or very little). If a lesion isn’t promptly treated, the risk of developing an infection and gangrene is very real.
Here are some tips for taking good care of your feet:
- Wash your feet in warm soapy water every day; use your elbow to test the water temperature, especially if you’re experiencing a loss of sensitivity.
- Once a week, file your toenails so that they don’t grow too long and potentially cause scratches. Do not use a toenail clipper, as you could cut yourself.
- Dry your feet thoroughly, including the spaces between your toes.
- If the skin of your feet is dry, apply an unscented lotion or cream to the dry patches. Be careful not to get any between your toes, as this causes a moist environment where fungus could thrive (athlete’s foot).
- Never walk barefoot, even at home.
- Inspect your feet every day. Use a mirror to look under your feet, or ask someone to help you.
- If you spot a wound, call your pharmacy right away. Your pharmacist will tell you how to treat it or will refer you to your doctor or podiatrist if necessary.
Never neglect a foot lesion, because even a little scratch can become a serious problem if it isn’t treated properly right from the start.
If you have any questions about your diabetes or foot care, don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist!