Keeping My Feet Healthy

Meagan Esler

| Feb 2, 2012

Winter in Chicago is catching up with my diabetic feet.  No matter how much I lotion up before bed, the cracks are beginning to show.  I recall a visit to my endocrinologist where she tested for sensitivity and scoped for cracks, wounds, or anything out of the ordinary.  She told me how lucky I was that the skin on my feet was smooth and well maintained.  She said to keep up with what I was doing.  Though truthfully, I wasn't doing anything, it was summer and my feet were in good condition because of the warm weather and pure luck. 

The endocrinologist warned me that a small crack in the skin on the foot of a person with diabetes could let germs in and lead to a very serious infection.  She said I should always wear socks, which I try doing. Unfortunately, I much prefer being barefoot at home and admittedly, my bare feet often win over any need to be cautious. Before that talk with the endocrinologist, I'd never really paid much attention to my feet, figuring I was young enough not to worry.    

In my early days after diagnosis over 17 years ago, I wore extremely high heels and dealt with foot pain because of them, practically limping home after a long day of being on my feet at work.  After I injured an ankle a couple of years ago, I started saving the really high heels for special events. 

Nowadays, I try to keep my feet healthy. I moisturize them overnight, wear comfortable shoes, get regular foot rubs thanks to my husband, and won't go near a nail salon for a pedicure because of all the horror stories that accompany diabetic feet. I once bought a "Ped Egg" because of some high praise a friend gave it, and to my dismay, the package said it was unsafe for diabetics. I had to wonder how they could advertise on their commercials that it was "so safe and gentle it won't harm a balloon," but could potentially injure a diabetic foot. 

When a glass breaks at home, it's like alarms go off, as though a biohazard spill occurred. My husband hollers for me to stay still while a panicked member of my family races to get my shoes. We don't play around. I learned that doctors don't play around with diabetic foot injuries when I stepped on a missed piece of glass at home. I was able to get an immediate appointment when I told them I had diabetes and a cut on my foot. Moments earlier, I had attempted to get an appointment for a cough, and they said they had no available appointments, instructing me to call back the next day. 

As much as I'd love to put it out of my mind, I know what can happen. I think everyone living with diabetes does. I try not to worry unnecessarily, though I know I have to be careful with my feet. I will continue to do my own foot inspections often, and try to combat the dryness and cracking that a long cold winter inevitably brings.  

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Categories: Bare Feet, Barefoot, Diabetes, Diabetes, Diabetic Feet, Diabetic Foot Injuries, Diabetics, Foot Inspections, Foot Pain, High Heels, Ped Egg

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Posted by Anonymous on 7 February 2012

I also share the same concerns,especially the cracking in the winter,although,thankfully it hasn't been that cold. I also moisturize every evening,I must have 4 differen containers on my night stand. I prided myself on good care,especially as a nurse who often worked 12 hour shifts. I no longer have a husband to massage my feet but use my hotub and the jets to do that now.
I broke a full length mirror last week and the "alarms" went off instinctively. After 46 years of having diabetes,the last thing I need is a foot injury. When I was diagnosed,the promise of an amputation was on the list.
Does anyone have any suggestions for a really good foot lotion? I've even tried pure lanolin but that doesn't help.
Here's to your best food forward...Linda

Posted by Anonymous on 7 February 2012

I've been a Type 1 diabetic for over 40 years (male). I've tried virtually every national and international foot cream on the market in that time. The one that is light years ahead of all the others, in my experience, is Akildia Diabetic Foot Preventative Care Cream. It was formulated by six French diabetic consultants for use in French hospitals with diabetics who had serious foot conditions. It works superbly.

The other thing to bear in mind is that you should ensure that your Vitamin D3 levels are at least 50 ng/ml. Healthy D3 levels prevent infection or, even if you do become infected, kill the infection before it catches hold in any serious way.

Good luck.

Posted by Anonymous on 7 February 2012

I have seen the consequences of poor foot care and diabetes. A friend of mine, who had some trouble keeping her blood sugars under control, developed a sore on one of her feet. Her doctor (who should have known better) suggested antibiotic ointment and bandaids. Eventually, the sore became infected and she had to have her leg amputated at the knee. The same thing happened with her other leg and she ended up confined to a wheelchair. It's scary how something that seems so minor can lead to something so devastating.

Posted by Anonymous on 7 February 2012

Diabetic feet are worth paying attention to!!! Walking with socks on after that lotion treatment makes mine almost feel "normal"-after 30 years my feet are my best feature!!! LOL

Posted by georgiagayle on 7 February 2012

Our small community of Laramie,WY, is fortunate to have regular foot care/maintenance provided by a RN at the local Senior Center. This wonderful organization takes care of the foot care needs of seniors, handicapped individuals and diabetics who need affordable, regular professional care through grant funding, donations and a small contribution from each patient. They also extend the service into several very small remote communities. After 48 years with Type-1, I have some foot neuropathy and limited range of motion, and can no longer do my own foot care with the diligence it needs, so this service is a real lifesaver (or maybe foot-saver!). Two years ago, the RN discovered an ingrown toenail in its very early stage; I was able to get treatment and no infection set in. Believe me when I say that I feel very fortunate. I encourage other communities to follow the example set by the Laramie Eppson Center. (And, thanks for the D3 tip!)

Posted by Wanakure on 8 February 2012

I have used " vaseline advanced healing for dry skin" and Cetaphil. Kroger makes generic versions with the same ingredients that areless expensive. Whatever you use look for 1 or 2% dimethicone in the ingredients. If applying once a day isn't working, try applying twice a day.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 May 2012

I am a new diabetic that has had extremely dry feet for many years. I used a ped egg that i have had for a few years without thinking about the consequences. My feet aare now very smooth, soft, and crack-free,but very sensitive and painfull. I now know better and have to see my podiatrist.

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