Diabetic Nerve Pain: 10 Foot Care Tips to Protect Yourself
10 Tips to Protect Your Feet continued...
Foot Care Tip 6. Stay soft - but dry.
Your skin may be dry and cracked because of high glucose levels, and cracked skin means it's easier for bacteria to get under your skin and harder for infections to heal. Use a small amount of skin lotion daily, but be sure your feet feel dry - not damp or sticky - afterwards. Try not to get the lotion in between your toes. Keep your toenails trimmed and filed smooth to avoid ingrown toenails. You may find it easier to trim your nails after using lotion, when your cuticles are softer. Use a pumice stone after showering or bathing to softly file corns or calluses.
Foot Care Tip 7. Try non-impact exercise.
Swimming, cycling, yoga, and tai chi are increasingly popular ways to exercise - with minimal impact on your feet. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Foot Care Tip 8. Fix bunions, corns, and hammertoes.
If your big toe slants sharply in toward your other toes, with a big bump on the knuckle of your big toe, you've got a classic bunion. Corns are spots of thick, rough skin, where the tissue builds up on toes constantly barraged by too much rubbing or pressure. A buckled-under toe, called a hammertoe, can result from muscle weakness caused by diabetic nerve damage. All of these make it hard to fit shoes comfortably. But a good podiatrist can help you fix these problems and take better care of your feet.
Foot Care Tip 9. Consider fitted orthotics.
A podiatrist can also fit you with shoe inserts called orthotics to support your feet if your have diabetic nerve pain or the muscles have become weak from nerve damage. If pain or weakness is so severe that it's too painful or even impossible to walk, a foot brace or orthopedic shoes might help. A podiatrist is your best source for these devices.
Foot Care Tip 10. Control your blood sugar.
The best prevention for nerve pain, ultimately, is to manage your diabetes well. In fact, a major study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in 2006 showed that strict blood glucose control with intensive insulin therapy lowered the chances in people with Type I (insulin requiring) diabetes of having symptoms of peripheral neuropathy -- tingling, burning, and pain -- by 64%. These results have also been shown to hold true in Type II diabetes. The two most important determinants of whether you get diabetic neuropathy are how many years you have had diabetes and control. Other factors such as controlling of blood pressure, lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), and not smoking are also important in the prevention of diabetic neuropathy.
Controlling your blood glucose also helps reduce the symptoms of diabetic nerve pain. So the good news is that controlling your glucose levels with diet, exercise, and if needed, medications can not only help prevent diabetic peripheral neuropathy, it can also help reduce the symptoms.
Your feet are your source of independence - or at least its foundation. Give your feet a little tenderness, a little loving care, each day. And be sure to have your doctor take a good look at your feet during each of your diabetes checkups in case you missed anything.