How to Practice Diabetic Foot Care at Home

May 02, 2023

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How to Practice Diabetic Foot Care at Home

If you have diabetes, you have an increased chance of developing problems in your feet. In fact, about half of people with diabetes develop life-changing foot pain. 

But there is good news — there are steps you can take at home to stop diabetic foot problems from developing. Our team of experienced podiatrists at Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic are dedicated to providing the best in diabetic foot care at locations in Holladay and West Jordan, Utah, including preventive measures.

Read on for at-home tips to prevent diabetic foot problems from developing!

All about diabetic foot problems

Diabetic foot problems get triggered by uncontrolled blood sugar. High blood sugar damages your nerves and circulatory system over time, leading to peripheral vascular disease and diabetic neuropathy. These conditions can lead to significant problems when untreated. 

Diabetic neuropathy causes nerve damage, reducing feelings in your feet. Since you’re unable to notice when your foot is irritated, blistering, or cut, the risk of infection and gangrene is increased, putting you at risk for amputation. 

Peripheral vascular disease is caused by damage to your blood vessels and circulatory system resulting from uncontrolled diabetes, preventing your feet from getting proper blood supply. Any wounds or injuries to your feet take longer to heal and have a higher risk of infection. 

At-home ways to prevent diabetic foot problems

You don’t have to wait to begin preventative steps to mitigate your risk of developing diabetic foot problems! There are many tips we recommend done from home.

Manage blood sugar

The first step in preventing diabetic foot problems is managing blood sugar. Managing blood sugar is known to prevent nerve damage and reduce further damage and pain with existing neuropathy. 

To manage your blood sugar, it’s essential to alter your diet to control the sugar released into your bloodstream. Keep healthy snacks, like chopped veggies or fruits, at home to replace sugary treats. Insulin and oral medications help manage glucose levels before and after you eat. 

Incorporate an active lifestyle 

Exercising and moving your body increases your heart rate and blood flow. That improves circulation throughout your body, combating the effects of damaged nerves and poor blood flow from diabetes. Exercising also helps reduce blood sugar, enhancing the dietary changes you make.

Taking a walk around your neighborhood or doing simple exercises at home are great ways to be more active. Studies show that regular walking can prevent or slow the progress of diabetic neuropathy. Talk to our team about exercise programs before starting.

Maintain proper foot hygiene 

Once a day, take a moment to check the tops, sides, and bottoms of your feet, as well as your toes and heels. Check for signs of irritation — spotting it early helps prevent more significant wounds from developing. Cut your toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails.

Keep your feet clean by washing them regularly in warm, soapy water. Dry your feet, taking care to dry between the toes, and moisturize after drying to prevent rough and dry skin.

Wear diabetes-friendly shoes

Wearing footwear that fits correctly helps prevent blisters and other minor foot wounds. Some people with diabetes have great success with specially designed diabetic shoes and inserts.

It’s best to shop for shoes in the afternoon as this is when more swelling occurs in your feet, making your shoe selection more accurate. Pick shoes made from flexible materials, such as soft leather, and wear socks. 

At-home therapies

As you manage diabetic foot problems, try these at-home therapies to reduce symptoms and improve foot health. 

  • Warm and cold water soaks: To manage swelling and pain, soak your feet in hot water for 2-4 minutes, then cold water for 2-4 minutes, repeating three times.
  • Ice massages: To ease pain, fill a sealable bag with two cups of crushed ice and one cup of cold water. With the bag, massage each foot for 5-10 minutes. Wear a sock or place a thin blanket between the ice and your skin.

Our team at Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic customizes at-home treatments based on your specific needs. 

More diabetic foot care

At Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic, we offer foot care advice and support to prevent and detect diabetic foot problems. Generally, we advise annual podiatric check-ins, with more frequent visits for existing issues. Our team can guide you on when to seek care and how often, to prevent complications.

For help with diabetic foot care, contact the office closest to you to meet with one of our experienced providers!