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Patients who suffer from diabetic peripheral neuropathy know that there are certain things that they need to do in order to care for their health. On the flip side of that concept, there are also certain things that patients who have diabetic peripheral neuropathy should NOT do.
Nobody likes rules, but these steps are essential for your good health. People who have diabetic peripheral neuropathy are more likely than healthy persons to develop infections of the feet and legs, and those infections are more difficult to heal.
If the infection advances, amputation can ultimately become necessary. You can avoid this extreme outcome by taking good care of your feet. Follow the guidelines below for optimal foot care.
Don’t walk around barefoot. You probably don’t go outside barefoot very often, anyway. However, if you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy, you should always wear something on your feet, even when you are inside your home. This is important because you could step on something – a small rock, a sharp toy, a broken bit of glass – all of which could injure your feet.
For most people, stepping on something like this wouldn’t be a big deal.However, people who have diabetic peripheral neuropathy lack sensation in their feet, so they could step on something and injure their feet without feeling it or knowing it. As a result, an injury that in most cases would be minor can advance to a more serious infection.Therefore, it is best to wear shoes all the time, even inside your house.
Of course, you can sleep without shoes. It’s a good idea to keep a pair of slippers next to the bed so that you can slip them on when you get up during the night to go to the bathroom. It may be a short distance to walk, but you are more likely to step on something during the night when it is dark.
Don’t wear tight shoes, socks or stockings. People who have diabetic peripheral neuropathy don’t have proper blood circulation in their legs and feet. Garments that compress the feet or legs, such as tight socks or stockings, further reduce circulation in the legs and feet, which exacerbates the existing condition. Therefore, you should not wear tight shoes, socks, thigh-high or knee-high stockings, garters, or girdles.
Don’t expose your feet to extreme temperatures. Since you may not be able to properly sense temperature, extreme heat or cold can be dangerous. Don’t put ice or heating pads, or hot water bottles on your feet, and wear shoes to protect your feet from hot pavement. Don’t put your feet up in front of the fire etc.
Don’t try to remove a corn or callus yourself. Instead, visit your chiropodist/podiatrist for professional treatment. You could accidentally cut too much skin off, which can lead to infections. Also, don’t use medicated callus or corn removers. These can damage healthy skin.
Don’t use one-size-fits-all arch supports. A standard arch support may not fit your foot properly, which can result in friction against the foot. This may actually cause pressure sores, which may then lead to an infection on the foot. It is important to have proper support of the feet, though, so visit a specialised shoe store to have custom orthotic devices made to fit your feet.
Don’t smoke cigarettes. Smoking interferes with proper blood circulation, which further complicates the condition of patients who have diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Don’t wear thong sandals – if a cut develops between the toes, it could lead to infection.
Don’t Soak your feet or use hot tubs – these can also lead to infections if skin is broken.
If you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy, you can visit a Foot Solutions store in your area. We can fit you for custom arch supports & shoes specifically designed for the Diabetic Foot, to give you exactly the type of fit and support that your feet need.