People with diabetes know that foot care is essential. But cold winter weather poses many unique challenges to keeping your feet healthy. Colder weather can cause foot sores, pain and numbness and worsen symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. And dryness in the winter can cause sores and infections, too. Luckily, there are some strategies you can use to keep your feet warm and well this winter.
Keep your feet warm, not hot.
The first step to taking care of your feet this winter is to keep them warm. Always wear socks that are comfortable and keep your feet at a warm temperature. For many people with diabetes, compression socks are a good option because they also help your circulation, which is another way to keep your feet warm. However, avoid overly heating your feet with electric blankets or hot baths, which can cause pain and damage if you suffer from neuropathy.
Give your feet room to breathe.
Many people’s first instinct is to wear thick socks that keep their feet warm. However, socks and shoes that are too warm or tight can cause excessive sweating, which damages your skin and can cause sores and fungal infections. They can also decrease your circulation, causing issues like clots. Ensure your socks and shoes fit properly to give your feet room to breathe while keeping them dry.
Avoid staying out in the cold for too long.
People with diabetes are at increased risk of frostbite, especially in their extremities. Because some neuropathy symptoms include numbness and loss of feeling, you may not even realize that your feet or toes are experiencing frostbite until later. So if you have to be outside in the cold, bundle up and opt for warm winter boots. Also, ensure your shoes won’t let in snow or water – dry feet are healthiest!
Keep your feet moisturized.
Although you don’t want water in your boots or excessive sweating in your socks, you should keep your feet moisturized. Winter is extra dry, and dry feet are more likely to crack and become infected. Use a diabetes foot lotion to keep your feet from cracking or blistering. And if you notice sores or pain in your feet, consult your podiatrist or diabetes care team immediately.
People tend to become more inactive when colder weather arrives, but activity increases your circulation and keeps your feet – and the rest of your body – happy and healthy. Additionally, staying active can help your blood glucose levels, which is essential to keeping your feet healthy and managing neuropathy. Try yoga, low-impact workouts and other ways of staying active indoors this winter.
Managing your foot health in the winter can be challenging. But, with the expert Fedorchak care team, you have the support to keep your feet healthy and diabetes controlled.