Diabetes Care

If you have diabetes it’s important to remember the main facts of regular basic foot care. This short health education article below highlights those important points of looking after your feet.

Foot Care for Diabetics

Wash your feet daily in cool water, paying careful attention to cleaning between your toes. Use a basin to do this; it’s a particularly good method of thoroughly checking your feet for cuts, abrasions, swollen toes, discolorations or even something stuck on your feet. If you can’t see the sole properly use a hand mirror or ask someone else to check for you. Unfortunately in some people with diabetes problems can go unnoticed due to reduction in sensation.  To prevent injury to your feet please don’t walk around barefoot, even at home. Change to clean socks/stockings daily. ‘Therasocks’ a double layer sock and seamless socks are excellent products to help prevent blistering or potential friction ulcers If your skin is dry ‘Callusan Forte’ is a superb and effective light mousse emollient containing Urea that can be used to soften dry areas, it’s a very useful product to treat or prevent cracking and fissuring in the skin. (Cracked skin has the potential to allow bacteria to enter the breaks setting up an infection). Plain un-medicated talcum powder can be used sparingly. Any itching, weeping fungal infection between toes should be dealt with speedily using ‘Lamisil’ a spray or cream version is available. Please remember that good foot hygiene accompanied by examination is important and should always be completed daily.

Leather lace–up shoes or even training shoes are recommended, they hold the feet firmly in place and prevent the foot from sliding forward. When buying new shoes ask for your feet to be measured each time, there may be some changes from your last visit to the shoe shop. Remember to check length, width and see that there is enough depth in the toe area. Protect the sole of your feet with a long lasting shock absorbing insole like ‘PPT/Plastazote’ diabetic specification insoles.Remember awareness of heat and cold can also sometimes be diminished and circulation less efficient than a non-diabetic, so attention should be paid to avoiding overheated baths, sitting too close to a fire and keeping a hot water bottle in bed. Cutting instruments should never be used on corns or callouses by individuals with diabetes, importantly never use corn paints/plasters, many contain strong acids that are dangerous and could cause ulceration. Always seek the attention of the Podiatrist for further advice Cut your toenails as straight across as possible using quality nail clippers then carefully file any sharp edges to prevent damage to the neighbouring toes. If your vision is not good please see a Podiatrist. Any minor injuries that do not appear to respond to your own treatment should be shown immediately to your Podiatrist as even a mild infection can upset your diabetes.   If you notice a change of colour, pain, throbbing, swelling or itching, in the foot, or a discharge coming from a break in the skin, from a corn or under a toe-nail consult your Podiatry Clinic or doctor immediately. Finally for peace of mind and your safety, its desirable that your Podiatrist should carry out a thorough assessment of your feet at least annually. 

 

More about Urea in foot creams

Did you know that dry skin often lacks natural Urea that would normally keep our skin soft and hydrated.  Urea re-hydrates the Stratum Corneum and its loss means the skin loses its water binding function allowing the skin to dry and crack. Dry skin on the feet can not only produce nasty painful cracks but allow entry of bacteria and fungi causing irritation. Our skin contains three natural moisturising factors that are produced during the process of karatinisation, they are Amino acids, Lactic acid and Urea. (Keratinisation is the process where dead cells are shed by the epidermis, this takes approximately 28 days) The Urea added to foot creams allow the other products in the preparation to act more effectively eg Lanolin.

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What is a Verruca ?

Occlusal verruca treatment

If you have kids that are keen on swimming the chances are they will pick up the dreaded Verrucas at some point. The viral warts called Verrucas are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. I takes around 4-6 months for them to make an appearance on your childrens feet and quite often it takes a while for the Verrucas to become painful and big enough for them to complain about it. The virus is easily spread by physical contact and cuts and abrasions on the feet can allow the virus to enter, hence the reason many kids get the infection from school gyms,swimming baths and changing rooms. Prevention isn’t easy at school. It’s a good idea to not share footwear,use their own towel and wear flip flops around changing areas or at the edge of pools.

Veracur GelTreating warts/Veruccas is easily completed at home but can take a bit of patience (often around 18wks !) and it should continue for about a week after you can no longer see it. Products to treat them can be varied; from Freezing (can be very painful for children) to painless methods like Veracur Gel(Formaldehyde) incidentally very suitable and safe for young children and diabetics, to Occlusal a Salicylic acid based treatment for adults and older children. Whatever product is used, anyone not sure about a mark on a childs foot or a particularly large Verruca should get it checked by their GP or Podiatrist first of all.

Veracur Gel,Occlusal and Swim socks available from http://www.yourfootcare.com/html/verrucas_and_warts.html

Sweaty and smelly feet

Smelly feet           Gehwol deodorant foot cream

It’s an inconvenient and at worst an embarrassing problem. Sweaty feet can affect all age groups and both sexes. It can sometimes be so bad that an odour can be detected from feet through a pair of shoes!

The technical term used to describe sweaty feet is Hyperhidrosis and the unpleasant odour caused by bacterial breakdown of secretions from the sweat glands, as Bromhidrosis. In appearance, the skin of the feet can be red and puffy, the excess sweat causing the skin to be macerated having a white and rubbery look between the toes.  The increase in sweat leaves the skin vulnerable to fungal infection, the virus that causes the formation of veruccas and blistering caused by lack of elasticity in the skin.

The first steps in helping the situation should include simple good foot hygiene. Wash your feet in cool water using a non scented soap, afterwards dry carefully between the toes.  Use shoes or trainer shoes with leather uppers to allow the skin to breath and importantly allow the footwear to dry out by alternating their use. Use natural fibre hosiery containing a high percentage of cotton to keep the feet cool and absorb secretions. Some specialist socks have high tech man made fibres that helps to keep the skin cool. Also associated with increase sweating is a high amount of Caffeine consumption, so reduce the tea and coffee input to help! Using products like Gehwol deodorant foot cream and Akileine shoe spray to keep the footwear fresh can help enormously.

See www.yourfootcare.com/html/sweaty_smelly_feet.html