DIABETES EARLY WARNING SIGNS DIABETES AND YOUR FEETThere are certain physical changes that manifest themselves in the footand may be “indicators” of diabetes: • Dryness and itching of the skin (feet and legs) • Tingling and burning sensations (particularly in the toes or sole areas) • Muscle cramps • The appearance of small localized areas of redness or blueness, particularly at the ends of the toes and in the heel areas • Frequent splitting of the skin around the heels and between the toes • Unaccountable and sudden sharp pains that are short-lived • The delayed healing of sores and scratches of the skin • Thickening or breaking off of toenails • Swelling at the ankle or the top of the foot; Occasionally, the toes feel puffy • Increased or decreased sensitivity to heat or pain • “Coolness” of skin temperatureAll of us are likely to have problems with our feet, but diabetics maydevelop serious problems more quickly and have more complications,expecially when circulation or nerves are impaired. The key for the diabeticis to view all foot problems as potentially dangerous and seek podiatriccare as soon as they occur. Advice from Your Podiatric Physician Florida Podiatric Medical Association 410 North Gadsden Street Tallahassee, Florida 32301 Phone: 1-800-277-FEET (3338) www.fpma.com
LEG EXERCISES FOR DIABETICS IMPORTANT CARE FOR FEET OF THE DIABETIC Diabetics are more likely than others to develop circulatory disturbances1. Have your feet professionally examined at least twice a year. in the legs and feet. With daily exercise, it is possible to prevent serious damage.2. Wash your feet daily and dry them well. Always wear clean socks or hosiery.3. Inspect your feet daily. Check for redness, blisters, cuts or scratches, cracks between toes, discolorations, or any other change. Monitor minor abrasions, keep them clean and treat with antiseptics recommended by your podiatric physician. If you notice an infection, a change or abnormality, notify your podiatric physician promptly. Because diabetes may cause loss of feeling in your feet, regular inspection is essential. You could have an infection and not know it.4. Avoid actions that restrict circulation to your feet, such as smoking, sitting with your legs crossed, and exposing your feet and legs to cold or heat. 1 Walking: Take a brisk, daily walk of 1/2 to 1 hour. Try to increase the distance every day. 2 Staircase exercise: Walk briskly up a ﬂight of stairs using only the ball of the foot. 3 Stretching the calf muscles: Lean with the palms of your hands against a wall, keeping your feet some distance away,5. Avoid burns, including excessive sunburn. Do not put your feet in heels ﬁrmly on the ﬂoor. Bend your arms 10 times, keeping your back and legs hot water or add hot water to a bath without testing the water straight. This counteracts leg cramps. temperature. Test the water with your elbow. Avoid hot water bottles and heating pads.6. Do not use over-the-counter corn cures. Many of these preparations contain acid and can destroy tissue.7. Prevent cuts and irritations. Do not walk barefoot or wear run-down shoes or worn hosiery. Do not treat your own foot problems with sharp instruments or dig into the corners of your toenails.8. When toenails are trimmed, be sure they are straight across and not below the top of the toe. 4 Chair exercise: Sit down on a chair and raise yourself up 10 times, keeping your 5 Tiptoe exercise: Hold onto a chair and raise and lower yourself on your 6 Knee bending: Do deep knee bends 10 times, while holding onto a chair. Keep9. Wear shoes that ﬁt. The widest part of the shoe should follow the arms crossed. toes on that spot. your back straight. natural outline of your foot and be snug, but not tight. There should be about three-fourths of an inch of space between the big toe and the shoe. The upper portion of the shoe should be soft and ﬂexible. The lining should be smooth and free of ridges, wrinkles, or seams.You should also keep in mind, when seeing your podiatric physician fortreatment, that your podiatric physician will recognize any change inyour diabetes and will promptly recommend that you go back to see thedoctor who is treating you for that condition. Often, this will result in yourreceiving necessary treatment earlier than would have otherwise beenpossible. 7 Heel raising: Raise up on the balls of your feet and then down on your heels, about 20 times. Then put your whole 8 Leg sweeps: Stand with one leg slightly raised, on a book or block. Hold onto a chair or table and swing the 9 Wave your feet: Sit down on the ﬂoor and lean backwards. Shake your feet until they are relaxed and warm. weight, ﬁrst on one leg and then on the other leg to-and-fro 10 times. Change to other. the other leg and repeat.