Ref: CHB/News Bulletin/002

Foot Care - Be kind to your feet.

f1You may not think about your feet that often --way down there at the ends of your legs --but they're an essential part of almost everything you do. Whether walking, running, exercising, or just standing, having feet that are comfortable and well-cared for (rather than aching or in pain) makes the experience must more pleasant. Therefore, knowing how to care for your feet is the key. And, this isn't just about feeling good. When your feet don't get the attention they need, chronic problems can develop, which may trouble you for years to come.

Importance of foot care in Diabetes and Peripheral arterial disease

f2Foot care is important if you have peripheral artery disease or diabetes. The two main factors that contribute towards this disease are:

Poor circulation — Long standing high blood sugar can damage blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to the foot. This poor circulation can weaken the skin, contribute to the formation of ulcers, and impair wound healing. Some bacteria and fungi thrive on high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, and bacterial and fungal infections can break down the skin and complicate ulcers.

Nerve damage (neuropathy) — Elevated blood glucose levels over time can damage the nerves of the foot, decreasing a person's ability to notice pain and pressure. Without these sensations, it is easy to develop callused pressure spots and accidentally injure the skin, soft tissue, bones, and joints. Neuropathy can cause loss of protective feeling, tingling, and pain in your feet or weakness of your legs. Left untreated, nerve damage can lead to tissue death, known as gangrene, and eventually to amputation.

It is important for you to make special efforts to take care of your feet to make sure that they remain healthy. By taking special care of your feet, you can minimize the risk of serious complications.

What can I do to prevent foot complications?

f3Check your feet every day: Look for cuts, sores, blisters, redness, warm spots, and swelling all around your feet and ankles and between your toes. If you have trouble seeing the soles of your feet, use a hand mirror or ask someone to check them for you. If you find anything abnormal when examining your feet, call your doctor.

Wash your feet every day: Wash your feet in warm water, but don't soak them because that can dry them out by removing protective oils. Dry your feet thoroughly including between your toes.

f4Moisturize your feet to keep the skin soft and smooth: Apply a thin coating of a moisturizing lotion on your feet every day to keep them smooth and to prevent dryness and cracking.

Do not treat yourself: If you develop rough skin, corns, or calluses, ask your doctor to treat them, do not treat them yourself because you might accidentally injure your skin.

f5Trim your toenails regularly: Use a nail trimmer to keep your toenails neat to avoid irritation of the skin. Cut straight across the nail, avoid cutting the corners of your nails, and smooth any rough spots with an emery board or nail file. Never cut the cuticles. Do not open blisters, try to free ingrown toenails, or otherwise break the skin on the feet.

Always wear shoes and socks: To avoid injuring your feet, always wear cotton socks that fit loosely and shoes that are snug but not tight. Change the socks every day. You should avoid wearing open-toe or open-heel shoes.

Buy shoes that fit properly: Shoes that don't fit properly can cause blisters and sores. Make sure to have your feet measured every time you buy shoes, and pick shoes that match the shape of your feet. Be sure that your shoes are snug enough so that your feet don't slip in them, but leave enough room for you to wiggle your toes. Buy rounded shoes and preferably low heels.

Exercise your feet daily. This maintains blood flow to your feet: Wiggle your toes and flex your feet and ankles for 5 minutes 2 to 3 times each day. Remember not to cross your legs for long periods of time.

General Exercise: Exercise improves circulation as well as overall health. Activities like walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are all activities that will improve your overall health but minimize stress to your feet. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Common Problems:

f6

Though our feet have to carry our body weight throughout our lives, it is usually the most neglected part of the body. It is important that you give it the care and attention it rightfully deserves. Please take this matter seriously as we have observed many cases of amputations and subsequent complications causing fatal diseases and deaths.

Compiled by Neelam A Ismail

"Community's health – CHB's priority"

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