Foot Care involves all facets of corrective and preventive care of the lower foot and ankle. Podiatrists are often known as podiatric physicians. Over an average lifetime, every individual walks about 115,000 miles; three quarters of us will have foot issues at some time in life.
Diabetics are at particular risk to foot ulcers due to poor foot care. They are at a high risk if they wear shoes that do not fit well, do not properly insulate the feet, or lack cushioning. As a result of poor footwear many diabetics find that the foot bones swell, thereby causing painful ulcers in the feet. If the foot care is not provided adequate care, it is even more likely that the ulcers will get infected or inflamed, resulting in open sores or blisters. This is especially true with diabetics who often have an infection in the feet because their feet sweat so much.
A common diabetic issue is the occurrence of calluses, or dry, cracked skin on the feet and lower legs. Calluses can be caused by a number of things, such as poor foot care, too much exposure to the sun, not providing protection from the cold and/or sun, and/or excessive salt intake. Toe fungus can also be a problem, which is common in diabetic patients.
In the case of fungal infection of the toes, there are several options for treating the infection. The first option is surgery to remove the fungal growth. However, many patients want to delay surgery, especially if they already have another foot injury or illness that has caused the foot pain and fungus symptoms to return. There is a less invasive, but equally uncomfortable, treatment for fungal toenail infections, which involves using a natural foot cream to treat the toe nail fungus.
Diabetics, who must carry foot care products with them at all times, need to maintain good foot care. These products must be very gentle and skin friendly. They should also be used in a manner that allows the product to reach all areas of the toes, from the balls of the toes to the end of the toe. In addition to using these foot care products, patients must also practice good foot hygiene. Daily foot washing is essential, since the nails provide the skin with the best filtration system. Daily foot baths are also important, since the feet tend to produce excess moisture.
Many foot creams, ointments, and foot preparations contain salicylic acid, which are an effective treatment for athlete’s foot, calluses, corns, and warts, and cuts caused by ingrown hairs. These preparations may be applied directly to the foot, or they can be diluted with water and applied to a foot care brush. The liquid soaps and gels are best, as they dissolve quickly, while the oils soften the skin, which makes it easier to apply to the skin.
If a patient has recently purchased new shoes or socks, he or she should carefully examine the feet to determine whether or not they require foot care. For example, patients should look for redness, swelling, or rough spots, as these indicate that the skin has been damaged. New shoes should fit well, and socks should feel smooth to the touch. When looking at new shoes, patients should be aware of the arch type and whether there are any deformities, like a fold at the toe, that make walking difficult. If there are any deformities, the doctor will likely recommend that patients buy comfortable running or walking shoes.
For patients with diabetes, the best foot care method is still to wear socks, even if the feet are always dry. Socks that are too tight or too loose will restrict circulation, causing the skin to be cold and causing feet to feel cold and clammy. Wearing socks helps to insulate the feet and keep them warm. In addition, socks can help prevent irritation and heal cuts and scrapes that may occur because of diabetes. For some people, diabetes is a condition that requires extra care, but for most, it is not.