The effects of diabetes can contribute to foot problems in many patients. Damaged blood vessels can impede blood flow to the feet and may cause nerve damage.
While diabetes patients should follow the advice of their personal physician, family caregivers may help their aging parents care for their feet by ensuring the following tips are followed:
- Manage your diabetes properly. Stick to the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. The better you manage your diabetes, the lower your chances of experiencing complications such as foot problems.
- Treat your feet well. Take time to inspect your feet every day. Be sure to examine not just the tops, but also the undersides of your feet. A mirror is a must for this task! Look for cuts, bruises, nail problems, and blisters, and take care of them. Give your feet a daily bath in warm (but not hot) water and dry them thoroughly.
- Use socks. Your feet need to be warm, so wear some comfy socks that fit: make sure they’re not too loose and not too baggy. They should be clean and made of material that won’t irritate your skin.
- Wear appropriate shoes. Like your socks, your shoes should be neither too tight nor too loose. They should give your feet proper support and shouldn’t put any undue pressure on any parts of your feet. If finding proper footwear is a problem, check with your doctor to see whether special shoes need to be prescribed, and if so, whether your insurance plan will cover them.
- Get physical. You don’t need to become a long distance runner or take up competitive swimming, but a well-planned exercise schedule, created in cooperation with your doctor, can benefit your entire body, including your feet.
- Keep it up. When you’re sitting while watching TV or reading a book, put your feet up on a chair or stool. This helps the blood to flow more easily to your feet.
Whether or not a senior citizen has diabetes, good foot care is important; however, if he or she does have diabetes, it’s essential.