Winter Foot Care for Diabetes

If you or a loved one has diabetes, you are probably already aware of the extra steps you need to take to ensure feet stay safe and free from injuries and wounds.

(If you don’t, here’s a short refresher on the topic—the elevator version is that you should be carefully checking your feet every day—and here’s a longer refresher outlining the major aspects of diabetic foot care.

Still, as we march toward the end of the year and colder weather along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada gets chillier and chillier, it’s a good idea to take some extra precautions—especially if you or your loved one suffers from peripheral neuropathy or poor circulation.

Keep feet dry. Winter is when most of the precipitation happens in Carson City. You know there will be some rainy, snowy, and slushy days here and there. That often means damp feet, and damp feet can be a magnet for bacteria and fungi—plus your skin is more likely to break down.

Protect your feet with waterproof boots on the days when you know you’re going to need them, along with warm socks made from a moisture-wicking fabric.

Getting the right fit is extremely important—if it’s too loose, the boot can slide around and cause blisters. If it’s too tight, you could cut circulation to your feet. When shoe shopping, measure your feet every time, test the fit every time, and try to go toward the end of the day when your feet are already a little swollen.

If your socks or shoes do get wet, dry your feet and replace them with dry footwear as soon as you can. Don’t forget the spaces between the toes.

… But not too dry (or hot). Unfortunately, in wintertime, the damp and messy outdoors is matched by the dry heat of indoor heating systems, which can lead to dry and cracked skin. People with neuropathy may also accidentally burn their feet if they try to warm them up too fast using a space heater, electric blanket, fireplace, or hot bath.

For the problem of dry feet, apply a moisturizer every day after your bath or shower to soothe and prevent cracking.

And for the problem of cold feet, just be careful. Never apply a direct heat source to your feet, and always test water with a thermometer or your hand before sticking neuropathic feet in. Try to keep your feet warmer and drier in the first place by wearing toasty moisture-wicking socks.

Don’t forget to see your podiatrist! If you have diabetes, you should schedule a comprehensive diabetic foot exam at least once per year. And the end of the year is a great time to do it—especially if you have some use-it-or-lose-it money left over in a medical expense account.

Additionally, Sierra Foot & Ankle can screen early warning signs of neuropathy or peripheral artery disease, order a new pair of custom orthotics, and of course provide any emergency care you might need for a wound or injury.

If you’re overdue for a checkup or have any ongoing concerns, set up an appointment online or call Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City or Gardnerville, NV for an appointment: (775) 783-8037.

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