Foot Care for People with Diabetes/Reduced Blood Flow
Acrylic and acrylic blends have been demonstrated by clinical research to be best for the diabetic foot; made from 100 percent “natural” fibers (cotton, wool and silk) retain moisture and make feet vulnerable to irritation, lesions, athlete’s foot, blisters and other foot conditions.
If the individual is immobile, wheelchair bound or bedridden, he/she should wear shoes and padded socks that do not confine or restrict the feet and that protect the vulnerable heel area from pressure ulcers.
- Check inside shoes daily for sharp points, sharp edges, seams or other rough areas or foreign objects that may lead to cuts, wounds or abrasions.
- Never depend on shoes to “fit better after they’re worn for a while.” Trust the foot health professional who analyzes the individual’s gait and sizes his or her feet. New footwear may “feel” large to the patient, but if they are properly fitted as a system—padded socks, insert/orthotic, shoes—they will provide better protection.
- Make sure the individual does not cross his/her legs for extended periods, as this can reduce blood flow and create pressure points.
- Move the individual or make sure that he/she changes position at least once every two or three hours to avoid tissue damage or pressure sores. Check carefully for signs of tissue damage in the heels of the feet—and also, for overall health, at the base of the buttocks, the upper outer thigh, the lower back and the back of the head. These are the areas where there is greatest risk for pressure sores.
- Encourage and facilitate appropriate physical activity. Check with the person’s doctor for recommendations on exercise and activities. Investigate exercise programs that may be available in your area.
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