Diabetes and Dry Cracked Skin

12 Mar

Collared lizard (dotted skin) Crotaphytus coll...Image via WikipediaDo you find it annoyingly painful to walk due to dry cracked skin on the heels of your feet? Have you tried lotions and potions, yet still have a difficult time treating this condition? We are here today to offer some practical suggestions to try to help you make things a bit more tolerable.

Dry cracked skin is usually most problematic during the winter months. Thickening and drying of the skin occurs, and deep cracks can appear, which makes it painful to even walk. For some, dry cracked heels are a mere cosmetic annoyance, but for a person with diabetes, it can pose a greater problem and health risks. What causes dry cracked skin?

•    Age

•    Existing skin conditions like psoriasis

•    Diabetes

•    Thyroid problems

•    Vitamin deficiencies

•    Excess weight

As we age, the skin loses its normal elasticity. Skin conditions caused by medical disorders can contribute to dryness and weight bearing can become problematic, especially if we stand for long periods of time and the skin is under excessive stress.  Any combination of these conditions can increase the likelihood of dry cracked skin.

Symptoms of dry cracked skin include discoloration (yellowish) and thickening of the skin. If it goes untreated, the skin can crack and bleed. Deepening cracks can harbor infections. People with diabetes should check their feet regularly, because they may have decreasing sensation in their feet due to nerve damage.

•    Bathe feet daily, test for proper temperature and dry thoroughly.

•    Apply vitamin enriched moisturizers to the feet, but not between toes.

•    Use a pumice stone to remove dry and calloused skin.

•    Wear shoes and socks to protect feet. Check them for small objects that could cause injury.

•    Check your feet daily for sores. People with diabetes are at greater risk for infection.

For the person living with diabetes, proper foot care is essential. Have regular medical checkups, and do not be bashful about exposing your toes. Still, tell your doctor immediately if you have a concern about your feet. Some doctors may prescribe orthotics to help relieve pressure on problem areas. Follow their instructions closely. If you implement a sound plan of prevention, you should make it through the winter with fewer problems, but if you have a problem, call East Penn Foot & Ankle Associates for an appointment.

So what’s worked well for your feet and dry skin? We’d like to know so comment below!

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