Diabetic foot care tips for caregivers

Diabetic foot care tips for caregivers

The feet are capable of taking on a lot, so it’s very important to take care of them. After all, your feet carry your weight for a lifetime as you stand, walk, or run, all day, every day, sometimes under less than ideal conditions.

Another aspect of managing diabetes is making sure that the feet are properly cared for, monitored, and maintained in the best possible condition.

As a caregiver, you’re probably on your feet a lot during the day (or maybe it just feels like it) so you know how much stress your feet go through each day.

Foot care matters for you as a caregiver and for the person in your care.

Foot care and diabetes

When you think about caring for someone with diabetes, you probably think of making sure that they’re eating nutritious food, getting plenty of exercise, and monitoring their glucose readings.

Another aspect of managing diabetes is making sure that the feet are properly cared for, monitored, and maintained in the best possible condition.

Diabetic foot care is essential. It’s important for people with diabetes to have their feet assessed regularly by their health care provider. Many people with diabetes would benefit from receiving regular foot care services from qualified health care providers.

A person with diabetes is at higher risk of developing foot injuries, wounds and infections as a result of changes to nerves and blood vessels in their feet that can develop over time.

Doctors and nurses can assist in diabetes management and may also have specialized training in diabetic foot care. The person’s doctor or other diabetes health care professional should check the diabetic’s feet at least once or twice a year, and screen for neuropathy (a.k.a. damage to the peripheral nerves) and changes to circulation to the feet.

Have the person in your care remove their shoes and socks during a diabetes-focused checkup appointment so that the doctor or other diabetes care provider can see and assess their feet.

The doctor may recommend that the person you’re caring for see at least one of these foot care specialists for any new or ongoing issues with their feet: 

  • Pedorthist: a person trained in orthotic footwear and footwear modifications
  • Podiatrist or Chiropodist: specialists in treating foot disorders, diseases, and dysfunctions
  • Orthotist or Prosthetist: specialists in orthotic and/or prosthetic devices

Diabetes Educator: someone who can provide education on diabetic foot care and living with diabetes

More foot care tips

In between appointments with foot care specialists, here are some foot care tips – things that you as a caregiver can do to help the person in your care maintain optimum foot health:

  • Check their feet daily. Inspect for cuts, cracks, or sores, and report any of these changes to their doctor or someone on their health care team.
  • Wash – don’t soak – feet and skin daily. Soaking the feet increases a diabetic person’s risk for infection, burn injuries, or developing overly dry skin because they may have less feeling in their feet as a result of diabetes.
  • Pat the skin dry and make sure to dry between their toes where water can collect. This foot care tip is applicable to other parts of the body where water can collect as well, such as in the underarm area.
  • Use a good skin moisturizer every day on the person’s feet, especially on the heels (where skin tends to crack due to over dryness), and on the soles of the feet (where calluses can form). Be sure to wipe away any excess moisturizer that doesn’t absorb, and avoid applying moisturizer between the toes, as excess moisture can promote infection.
  • Clean cuts and scratches with mild soap and water, and cover with a dry dressing that is appropriate for sensitive skin.
  • Check the colour of the person’s legs and feet for signs of swelling, warmth, redness, or pain. These may be signs of an infection so see a doctor right away.
  • Tell a health care professional about any changes in skin condition or if a rash develops.
  • To avoid injuring their skin, never try to remove calluses, corns, warts, or bunions on your own using topical chemical treatments or using files or any sharp objects such as nail clippers, scissors, or razors.
  • Trim their toenails carefully and straight across. File the sharp ends in one direction with an emery board. This helps prevent nails from splitting. Filing the sharp edges will also prevent the nails from poking the skin when they start growing back. You may want to ask a health care professional for assistance with this task to avoid accidentally causing injury to the person in your care. Elizz provides a full range of home health services by qualified health care professionals including foot care, to make this task easier for you and the person you’re caring for.
  • To prevent injury to the feet, make sure that the person is never barefoot, even around the house. A person with diabetes may have nerve damage in their extremities, which may prevent them from feeling injuries, so wearing well-fitting slippers or house shoes while indoors can help protect their feet.
  • Wear clean dry socks, preferably white socks which can help you to see any “drainage” from foot injuries such as cuts, scrapes, blisters, or ingrown toe nails.
  • Shoe irritation can cause foot ulcers or create a wound, both of which are dangerous for people with diabetes, so make sure that their shoes fit properly. Signs of redness or blisters are indicators that there may be a concern with the way their shoes fit. Look for shoes that provide good support and cushioning for the heel, arch, and ball of the foot, and if one foot is longer than the other, buy shoes in the larger size.
  • Some shoe styles come in wide widths so consider these options if the person feels that their feet are being squeezed, especially in the toes. The person’s doctor may be able to prescribe orthopedic shoes or give them a referral to someone who specializes in orthotic footwear.

Take foot care matters and all foot injuries seriously. A person with nerve damage in their feet may not realize how severe their injury is because they may feel little to no pain.

Contact their doctor if you notice a foot sore that doesn’t heal quickly or other persistent foot problems so that a proper diagnosis and treatment plan can be made. If you are a family caregiver, your care patient’s doctor and other members of the health care team may also be able to provide you with other helpful foot care tips.

 

Comments

Close

Order a Service

()-
(UTC - 05:00)
Close

Want to order service?

 

Or drop us your email address, and we'll get back to you:


 

Have a question?
Chat live with a member of our care solutions team Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm!

Live Chat
Close

Share Your Caregiver Story

We review and post new submissions weekly and we are always looking for new “Faces of Caregiving”.

Yes, you may post my submission and contact me.
Close

Have a Caregiving Question?

Submit your caregiving question to our experts. Our experts review the questions we receive regularly, and we share our responses to the questions that we think are most relevant to the whole community.

Yes, you may post my submission and contact me.
Close

Contact us to discuss your results

 

Have a question?
Chat live with a member of our care solutions team Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm!

Live Chat
 
 

Or drop us your email address, and we'll get back to you: