Associated foot problems can occur when you have diabetes, it is important to ensure that you take proper care of your legs and feet. In some diabetics this can lead to:
During the winter, changes occur to our body particularly to our circulatory system. This affects all our external elements, such as hands and feet. Therefore it is important to keep your feet warm and dry. It can be critical for individuals who have a history of diabetes or with Reynaud’s syndrome. During cold weather our body is continually challenged as the blood moves away from the outer limbs in order to maintain a constant temperature throughout the body. This is why we find our finger and toes feeling colder and numb during prolonged exposure to cold.
During the cold weather we advise that all footwear should be appropriate to allow for comfort and warmth.
As an elderly patient, it is important that you pay special attention to your feet with regard to foot hygiene, the cutting of nails, the type of sock stockings/hosiery worn, type of shoe and other matters concerning the feet.
Your nails should be attended to on a regular basis using a pair of ordinary nail clippers. The nails of the elderly are usually quite thick in many cases and therefore it would be best to do nail cutting after bath time as the nail would be much easier to cut. Nails should be cut making sure that you follow the length and shape of the toe so as to minimise damage to the nail during the regrowth stage. NEVER probe the nail groove or any part of the nail. Should you be experiencing any difficulty with your nails or should you suffer any pain or discomfort, consult your Practitioner for help and advice.
It is important for the elderly patient to know that any corn or callus should be treated by a qualified Practitioner and that removal of these disorders should not be attempted by the patient. Equally NEVER use any corn cures as the medicaments in the preparations could have a serious effect on you.
Your feet should be washed daily in tepid water using mild toilet soap. After washing, the feet should be carefully rinsed in plain water and properly dried, paying special attention to between the toes.
If you have sweaty feet normally, then clean the feet, dry them and apply talcum powder. If you suffer from dry feet, then use of a cream will help to maintain the feet. It is important that you change to a clean pair of socks/stockings every day.
Due to age the elderly in many cases have problems with circulation and because of this you should avoid very hot baths, electric blankets should be turned off at bedtime and you should not sit too close to fireplaces or heaters.
Shoes must be chose carefully. It is best to have lace–up and soft-upper shoes so that your feet will be held firmly during walking. To be sure that shoes are suited to your feet, test walk on a solid area of the store NOT ON THE CARPETED FLOOR.
It is best to have your feet measured when buying shoes. Feet must be measured standing, as this is when the true size is known.
If any minor injuries should happen to you (e.g. cuts, bruises) clean the area and apply a mild antiseptic cream (e.g. savlon). DO NOT apply adhesive strappings directly to the area or wrap the strapping around toes, as this will restrict circulation.
Blisters on the feet should be left alone and should not be punctured (pricked) to release the fluid but should be left to dry up on their own. Should they open of their own accord and discharge their contents dress with an antiseptic dressing.
It will be necessary to visit your Practitioner or G.P. if the injury is not responding to the treatment.
If you notice discharge coming from a break in the skin, from a nail or corn it is important that you visit your Practitioner.
If there is pain, itching, swelling or colour in the changes in the feet or legs, visit the Practitioner.