Diabetes

Important Tips in Taking Care of Your Hands and Feet If You Are Diabetic

A big part of foot health depends on the shoes you wear. It is important to buy comfortable shoes that fit appropriately, when you are a type 2 diabetic. Because you may have decreased sensation in your feet, you may not feel an injury to your feet caused by ill-fitting shoes. It is important to choose shoes that do not have internal stitching in areas that can rub against your feet. You should choose shoes that will fit your feet without causing pressure against any of the bony prominences, because this could cause blistering and ulceration. If you have malformed toes, as in hammertoes, you should wear shoes that are deep enough and wide enough that do not cause pressure on them. You may not feel pain, which would tell you that your shoes are not fitting you correctly. Shoes should fit correctly from the first day you put them on.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common condition among type 2 diabetics. The feet are often the first place where type 2 diabetics lose feeling, which is why it is important to check the feet daily. Most people check their feet before going to bed; it is important to take a good look at your toes, your toenails, the tops and bottoms of your feet. Make note of any differences in the feel and appearance of your feet, ankles and lower legs. Since your sensation may be impaired, it is important to examine your feet with your hands and your eyes. Spread your toes apart and look between your toes, and check the underside of your toes also.

When you bathe, it is important to pay special attention to your feet. Wash them gently, and dry your feet well. If any moisture is left between your toes, this can cause a fungal infection to set up between the toes. You may not feel the itching from a fungal infection if you have diabetic neuropathy. After drying your feet, it is important to moisturize your feet, but be sure not to put the lotion in between your toes, because you need to keep those areas dry.

If you notice any sign of infection, redness, irritation, broken skin with drainage, elevated temperature, and chills, you should contact your doctor immediately, so that your doctor can evaluate the condition of your feet and treat you accordingly. It is important to contact the doctor as soon as possible, because infections can set up very quickly in the feet of type 2 diabetics. Circulation is often impaired in the feet, and the tissue of the feet can become necrotic (dead tissue). In just a short time serious tissue injury can be caused by impaired circulation to the feet and toes.

Another word about shoes: since you may not have much sensation in your feet, it is important to check your shoes to see that they fit properly. Feel where your toes come when you stand in your shoes. If you toes come close to the end of your shoes, they may be too short. If your shoes are too narrow, or have stitching on the inside, they could injure your feet. If your feet slide within your shoes, this could case shearing of the skin, which could result in bruising and tearing of the skin. You may be the only person to notice when something isn’t quite right with your feet. By caring for your feet daily, you should notice any changes that should be reported to your health care professional.

Nail Care

Type 1 and type 2 diabetics have to take special care of their hands and feet, which includes nail care. Many people with type 2 diabetes mellitus are susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections; therefore, it is very important that fingernails and toenails are trimmed properly. It is important to make sure you don’t cut the skin with the nail clippers, because microorganisms can enter the body through the opening in the skin.

Before clipping your fingernails you will need to have everything you need at your fingertips before you start. Be sure you have some cotton balls, nail polish remover (if you are wearing polish), nail clippers, styptic powder, hand soap, and nail file. It is imperative that you prepare the skin and nails before clipping to prevent infection. If you have on any nail polish, it is important to remove it before clipping. After removing nail polish, wash your hands really well and dry them before clipping. It is important for individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to prepare their hands for clipping to prevent infections. If you should cut the skin accidentally, any bacteria harboring in the crevices between the fingernail polish and the skin could invade your body through the skin.

It is important for type 1 diabetics, type 2 diabetics and kids with juvenile diabetes to be very careful when slipping their nails. You may be better at clipping with one hand than the other; therefore, when clipping your fingernails, you may want to start with your awkward hand first. Be sure to have a firm grip on the clippers, but not so tight that they flip out of your fingers. Very carefully place the end of your fingernail between the cutting edges of the clippers and then gently squeeze the clippers so that the blades cut your nail. Follow through with the rest of your fingernails in the same way. It is better to clip a little at a time to prevent cutting your fingernails too short. Being a type 2 diabetic, you are at risk of cutting your skin if you clip your nails too short. If you should clip the skin, use the styptic powder to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. Lastly, file your nails so that they are smooth after clipping them, so that the nails are smooth.

How to clip toenails

Clipping your toenails is done much the same way as you clip your fingernails. Just like with your fingernails, you need to prep the nails, by taking off nail polish, if you are wearing any. Be sure to soak your feet prior to clipping your toenails, because the toenails will be softer to cut through. You will need to gather the same materials as you would for cutting your nails. Be sure to have the styptic powder handy, in case you accidentally snip your skin around your toenails.

 It is important to trim the toenails straight across according to the shape of the toes. Don’t cut them too short, because if you cut into the quick you could get an infection. Be sure to file your toenails when you have finished clipping them. When you trim your toenails, do it after a bath or shower, because your toenails will be softer and easier to trim. Don’t try to trim into the corners, because this can cause ingrown toenails. If you notice ingrown toenails do not try to cut them out yourself. Contact your health care professional and let him/her deal with any nails that are in-grown. If you are not sure how to cut your toenails safely, you need to allow a health professional to show you how. If you are unable to trim your toenails, you need to let a professional, or someone who knows how to trim the nails of a type 2 diabetic.

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