What have you been doing to prepare for the cold weather? Filling up the oil tank? Calling the snowplow guy? What about preparations for your own precious human body? If you’ve got diabetes, this is a crucial question. Diabetes, as our patients know well, can affect the feet in several ways:
- Peripheral arterial disease stops blood from flowing to the areas farthest from the heart – your legs and feet.
- Nerve damage numbs your feet, making it hard for you even to realize that your feet are cold, dry, or itchy.
- Diabetics succumb to the effects of cold-weather threats such as frostbite, chilblains, and heel fissures much easier and faster than people without diabetes.
Here are five tips to help our diabetic patients get through the winter with protected, healthy feet:
- Avoid damp feet. If your feet sweat a lot or if the leaky boots you’re wearing encounter a pile of slush, your socks are going to get wet. Change them as soon as you can. Dampness up against your skin invites bacteria, which leads to infections.
- Wash and dry your feet thoroughly every day to keep bacteria away.
- Keep skin moist. Use a thick moisturizing cream after showering – but avoid getting the cream in between your toes. Drinking plenty of water also helps keep skin hydrated from the inside.
- Keep hot things off of your feet. Don’t let your feet make direct contact with electric blankets or heating pads. Be wary of the water temperature in showers and baths. Warming your feet by the fireplace sounds lovely, but your compromised feet might not sense that it’s too hot.
- Examine your feet daily for signs of trouble, including red spots, shiny skin, and sores that don’t heal.
Our experienced podiatric surgeons, Dr. Craig B. Frey, Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, and Dr. Jim Swienconek, look forward to seeing you for your annual diabetic foot exam. But if your feet give you any signs of trouble this winter, contact us asap. Call Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We offer a modern office with the latest technology for podiatric patients in Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties, proudly serving our patients from Solon, Aurora, Bedford, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, and Twinsburg.