Blue Circle which is the symbol of National Diabetes Awareness Month

When cold weather really starts to settle in, bears aren’t the only ones that head into hibernation. Picture-perfect pedicures and sandal-ready feet get swaddled up in woolly socks and cozy slippers until next spring. 

Since November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about keeping feet healthy and happy. For folks with diabetes, keeping track of doctor’s appointments, blood sugar levels, medications, and a healthy diet and exercise regime can become overwhelming and feet can often get overlooked, especially in the winter months.

A healthy winter foot-care routine is important for everyone, but especially for those living with diabetes.

High glucose levels in the bloodstream can cause nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy. It can feel like tingling, numbness, or no feeling at all. Because the nerves in our feet are long, delicate, and easily damaged, feet are especially vulnerable. Little scrapes, cuts, blisters, and bruises can go unnoticed, setting the stage for potential infections which can lead to serious health issues. 

A little care now can prevent a whole lot of heartache and pain down the road. Below are seven easy tips for keeping feet happy and healthy especially in colder weather.

7 Tips for Healthy, Happy Feet

1. Check your feet every day for cuts, abrasions, blisters, or changes in skin tone or swelling. If you’re having trouble getting a good look at the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member to help out. 

2. Wash and dry your feet every day with warm water, not hot, using a mild soap. Don’t soak your feet since this can cause the skin to become fragile and avoid hot water which can easily burn. With a thirsty towel, be sure to get in between toes since fungus and bacteria thrive in a warm, damp environment. 

3. Wear socks and shoes or slippers everywhere, even inside. Shoes should be comfortable and clean and not too tight which could cause blisters. Avoid socks with restrictive elastic that can impede circulation. Our Therasoft Moisturizing Socks with anti-slip traction are perfect for house-lounging.

4. Get the blood flowing by putting your feet up when relaxing. Foot and ankle exercises are also great for circulation, improving flexibility, and increasing overall stability. A foot roller works great for massaging and stretching out tired feet.

5. Toenails clipped and clean and filed smoothly. If you’re having trouble doing this yourself, ask your podiatrist or a family member to set you up with an impromptu pedicure.

6. Leave corns and calluses to the professionals. The risk of injury is not worth the home remedy. Avoid the temptation and let your podiatrist handle it. 

7. Moisturize your feet every day, after your shower or bath and before you go to bed. Skin gets dehydrated quickly in the winter months and cracked heels and dry skin is an invitation for an infection. Avoid moisturizing between your toes as mentioned above. Gel sleeves for heels help balms and creams penetrate rough, cracked skin where it’s needed most and are padded for extra comfort.