Six key tips to keeping your feet healthy during winter

March 17, 2015

If you have diabetes, caring for your feet is very important, especially during the cooler months. The cool, wet weather can present multiple challenges in maintaining foot health, with the risk of numbness and decreased circulation dramatically increasing.

With the temperature beginning to drop, now is the time to change your foot care routine. Click here to read our top tips for caring for your tootsies this winter.

  • Check your footwear – Wearing a full shoe or boot with a rounded toe, that allows the toes to wiggle comfortably is ideal. Proper shoes should provide warmth and protection since a person with diabetes may not realise that their feet have become cold. Get into the habit of wearing shoes at home. Slippers or a “house shoe” will help keep feet warm and protect your toes.
  • Wear Diabetic Socks – Our feet continue to sweat during the cooler months. Wool and cotton socks are ideal as they allow our feet to “breathe”. Diabetic socks have extra padding at the sole and offer a wide fit and non-elastic ankle, preventing the socks from digging in. Talk to your Podiatrist about purchasing a pair of Diabetic Socks during your next consultation.
  • Minimise the use of heat packs, hot water bottles and electric blankets – Due to the neuropathy and decreased ability to feel hot temperatures on your feet, it is advised to avoid hot water bottles, heat packs and electric blankets. Instead try some warm comfy diabetic socks. Always check the temperature of a bath with your hand before putting your feet in to prevent any burns.
  • Keep feet dry – Sloshing through puddles can lead to dangerously damp feet. Moisture that collects between your socks and feet, and in-between your toes can invite unwanted bacteria to gather. Ensure you dry your feet gently and thoroughly to avoid complications. If you notice any sores, seek advice from your Podiatrist.
  • Moisturise daily – Diabetes neuropathy and poor circulation decrease the function of our moisturising glands. Dry heat from a heater for example, can make the dryness worse and can lead to the skin breaking down. Ask your Podiatrist to recommend a good cream to keep feet your moisturised.
  • Check your feet daily – If you have diabetes, you need to check your feet daily. Look for breaks in the skin, discharge, changes in colour, changes in odour, and any painful corns or callus. if you struggle to reach your feet, use a hand held mirror to check your soles. If you notice any problems, make an appointment to see your Podiatrist.

Prevention is better than the cure. Introducing these small and easy suggestions into your normal daily routine can result in happier and healthier feet this winter.