Diabetes – Take good care of your feet

As a diabetic, you must focus intensively on your feet as there is a risk of reduced sensitivity, which can result in foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are one of the more common complications of diabetes and you need to take them very seriously. There may be several reasons why you may develop foot ulcers. High blood sugar levels can in time cause damage to the nervous system and blood circulation in your feet. Damage will affect all parts of the body, including those far from the spinal cord and heart. Your feet will often be the first to suffer and foot wounds heal very slowly. Surgery may sometimes be necessary and there is a risk of serious infection that can ultimately lead to amputation. Other complications include atherosclerosis and neuropathy. Atherosclerosis of the blood vessels into the legs can lead to an inadequate flow of blood to the feet and toes, which in turn can lead to impaired skin and tissue viability in the foot. As a diabetic, it is important that you take good care of your feet.

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Diabetic neuropathy:

– Nerve complications, permanent damage to the nerves of the skin, muscle and/or internal organs.

Diabetic neuropathy means that there is insufficient blood flow in the small vessels around the nerve pathways. The nerves receive insufficient blood, adversely affecting the nerve whih is slowly destroyed. The long nerve pathways are affected first, after which the nerve endings in the feet, legs, arms and hands will become affected. The risk of contracting this disease increases with the number of years you have suffered from diabetes. Furthermore, the risks are enhanced if blood sugar control is poorly regulated. Well-regulated blood sugar and a healthy lifestyle can delay the onset of diabetic neuropathy. Smoking and obesity may also increase the risk of developing secondary symptoms of diabetes. It is thought that subjects who have an genetically-determined higher risk of developing diabetes may also be at higher risk of developing diabetic neuropathy.

What happens in the body when you have neuropathy?
The blood transports oxygen to the body cells. Destruction of the body’s small blood vessels is a common  complication of diabetes. If the blood vessels that supply the nerve cells with blood are damaged, the nerve cells are starved of oxygen and will eventually perish.

What causes neuropathy?
The cause of diabetic neuropathy is unknown. However we do know that there is a clear correlation between the control of the blood sugar and the risk of developing the disease.

What signs should I be aware of in connection with diabetic neuropathy?

    • restless legs
    • “pins and needles” in the legs and feet
    • an enhanced sense of hot or cold in feet and lower legs
    • a feeling of walking on cotton wool
    • the feeling of weak muscles in the feet or legs
    • a feeling of over-sensitivity in the legs and feet

Important: the above-mentioned symptoms are not necessarily signs of neuropathy. You are advised to mention symptoms of these kinds to your doctor. Seek medical attention if you think you have diabetic neuropathy.
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Taking care of your feet – A few tips about reducing the risk of diabetic complications

  • 1. Keep your feet clean
    Wash your feet every day in warm water. Use a mild soap with pH 6-7. Avoid footbaths, brown soap and soap flakes as they dry out the skin. It is very important that the water is not too hot.
  • 2. Dry your feet thoroughly
    Dry your feet thoroughly and remember to dry well between your toes to prevent athlete’s foot and fungal infections.
  • 3. Use moisturising cream daily
    Nerve inflammation may result in lower moisture content in the skin and very dry skin as a result. To keep skin soft and smooth, apply a moisturising cream or lotion every day. NB! never apply cream or lotion between your toes as they should always be kept dry. Your podiatrist can recommend a suitable cream.
  • 4. Change socks every day
    You should wear pure wool socks for cold feet and 100% cotton socks for hot feet. Avoid synthetic materials. Socks should be spacious around your toes and without seams and edge-elastic.
  • 5. See your chiropodist on a regular basis
    You should get your feet checked at least once a year.
  • 6. Take a very good look at your feet every day
    It is important that you examine your feet every day. Use a mirror if you find it difficult to examine the whole foot. You should never treat calluses and corns with scissors, knives or anything that might damage the skin. Contact your chiropodist if you see signs of infection (redness).

Diabetes and shoes – take good care of your feet

As a diabetic, you do well to take care of your feet and choose shoes carefully. Good footwear is protective and reduces the risk of foot ulcers. It is therefore important that you buy shoes that fit your feet perfectly. You should always buy your shoes late in the day when the foot is largest. Consider the following:

  • – Are my shoe soles flexible?
  • – Is the upper part of my shoes soft?
  • – Is the toe cap spacious and high?
  • – Is the shoe widest where my foot is widest?
  • – Does the shoe support my ankle?
  • – Does the shoe have a solid heel?
  • Please use insoles with pads primarily aimed at pressure relief. Insoles help to evenly distribute the load on pressure-exposed areas of the foot minimising the risk of calluses and wounds.

Why should you choose insoles from Align Footwear?

You should choose Align Footwear® insoles because:

  • They are easy to remove and check whether there is something in your shoes that could give you wounds
  • Align Footwear® insoles are machine washable (wool programme – 40 degrees) and therefore easy to keep clean
  • Align Footwear® insoles increase mobility, comfort and performance. They promote better posture and body alignment in your kinetic chain and will thus improve your health and wellbeing. When your body and feet are corrected into the natural position, the impact of every step you take is more evenly distributed. Align Footwear® insoles reduce destructive shock waves throughout your whole body every time your feet hit the ground. This means less pressure and possible inflammation of the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Align Footwear® insoles are really essential if you want to avoid foot ulcers, etc.

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