I have lost count for the number of patients I have looked after who had their foot or feet amputated as a result of a diabetic foot ulcer. Every patient has their own story of how they became diabetic and then, got their feet amputated. It is heartbreaking. I vividly remember one of my patients saying that he used to be a truck driver and munched on candies every time he was on road. He lost both his legs as both had to be amputated. Some more bad news: There is one amputation every four hours in Ontario as a result of a diabetic foot ulcer according to Diabetes Canada. Basically, six times a day. For seniors at risk for developing a diabetic foot ulcer, a healthy foot care regime is mandatory. Otherwise, it might be too late. Lastly, here are some more scary numbers from Diabetes Canada.
“1.6 million people live with diabetes, and 2.3 million have prediabetes in Ontario.”
“15% of the 345,000 Canadians living with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer.”
“23* more likely for diabetics to be hospitalized for limb amputation.”
“70% never examine their feet daily for blisters, cuts and temperature differences.”
When feet and legs have nerve damage (caused by Diabetes), a small cut or wound can go unnoticed. Hence, it is so important to make foot care part of your daily self-care routine. Here are 4 tips for seniors living with diabetes to keep their feet healthy.
Check your feet daily
Seniors need to make sure they check their feet everyday to make sure there are no cuts, cracks, ingrown toenails or blisters. Ask your spouse, kids or caregiver if they see anything funny at the bottom surfaces of your feet. Heck, be creative. Use a hand mirror to see the bottom surfaces if you have no help. Plus, make sure to trim your toenails as toenails can lead to cuts in your feet. Also, trim toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails.
Wash your feet daily
Make sure you wash your feet in warm water with a mild soap everyday. Further, please be aware it is extremely important to dry your feet after washing especially between your toes. Additionally, it is recommended that you wash your feet daily but you should not soak them. Soaking can result in skin break down, which can lead to infection. Always talk to your doctor before soaking your feet.
Moisturize dry skin
Use foot cream or a lotion for dry and cracked skin on feet and heels. However, avoid application between your toes to avoid infection.
Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes
Nerve damage will affect foot sensitivity. You might have no idea that there is a cut or a small wound in your feet. You can help protect your feet by wearing shoes all the time. Inspect the inside of your shoes every day for tears that may cause pressure or irritation. Of course, socks can provide an extra layer of protection between your foot and your shoe.