Our poor feet, they get so neglected! They take so much abuse on a daily basis, but we don’t often think about how important it is to take care of them.
However, when you have diabetes, foot care is at the top of the list of things to learn. When your blood glucose levels are out of control it makes it difficult for your body to heal, and it can also damage the nerves in your feet and lower legs. This is a condition called neuropathy and it can cause so many problems. If you’ve ever known or seen someone who has lost a toe, foot, or leg due to diabetes, it is almost always because they have developed a cut or sore on their foot that they never even felt.
Unfortunately, we have first-hand experience with this. Most of our family is aware, but few of our friends know that while we were on vacation for our anniversary (prior to hubby being diagnosed) my dear husband got a rather nasty blister on his big toe. He didn’t even feel it until I pointed out his bloody sock. So we put Neosporin and a band-aid on it and went on our merry way.
There was just one problem. It wasn’t healing. At least, not very quickly. But he kept up with his steps because it didn’t hurt at all. And we kept bandaging and it looked like it was slowly starting to close up. Very slowly. But then we found out he was diabetic and he asked our nurse about it. She took a look, and then our doctor came in to take a look. And then they sent us to wound care. After a round of x-rays to make sure there was no infection in the bone, it was determined that he didn’t have an infection (thank goodness). If there had been, he could have lost his toe. This was three weeks after he initially got the blister!
What followed was three months in a Darko (basically a padded boot that was velcroed onto his foot) and bandaging. Concerned about not being able to exercise, we found a compromise with hubby being able to cycle instead of walk because it didn’t put pressure on his toe. Two weeks ago, he was finally cleared of having to use the Darko, and this week we’ve been able to stop the bandages.
It took 4 months for a simple blister to heal. It is so incredibly important to take care of your feet, even if you don’t have diabetes! Make sure your nails are trimmed with no sharp edges, keep them soft and smooth with the light application of a pumice stone, and if they are really rough, cracked or scaly, try using Vick’s Vaporub on them (this is what the wound care nurse had hubby using). Don’t use shoes that rub or cause blisters, and if you do notice any redness, blisters, or cuts, be sure to take care of them carefully, and see a doctor if it doesn’t improve quickly.
Our feet do so much for us, it’s up to us to take care of them so we can continue using them for a long time to come.