If you have diabetes, think twice before walking barefoot outdoors this summer. There are many potential risks for your feet.
We all love walking barefoot in summer, don’t we? The soft cushion of grass or a sandy beach under our feet feels wonderful and the act of going without shoes makes us feel kind of bohemian.
Walking barefoot is fine if we’re perfectly healthy. But for those suffering with Diabetic neuropathy, going barefoot can be downright dangerous. Diabetics who develop neuropathy lose sensation in their feet, which may start as an occasional tingling in the toes.
When we walk barefoot, our feet will sometimes get small cuts and abrasions. No big deal if you’re healthy because you’ll notice the pain and will take care to treat it. But for those with Diabetic neuropathy, that cut or abrasion may go completely unnoticed and can lead to serious infection.
A patient with Diabetic neuropathy also needs to be concerned with picking up an infection such as MRSA, which is much more difficult to treat than common staph infections. Even though MRSA is related to staph, it’s usually resistant to common antiobiotic treatment and requires a more aggressive approach.
Why am I more susceptible to infections because I’m diabetic?
Diabetes alone doesn’t make you more susceptible to infections. If and when you develop neuropathy and lose the feeling in your feet, you’re more likely to be unaware of a sore or ulceration on your foot, so it’s left untreated. This becomes an entry point and perfect breeding ground for bacteria, leading to infection.
How a diabetic should take care of their feet in summer
- Always wear a sandal, athletic shoe or flip-flop to protect the bottoms of your feet. This is your first and best step in prevention and goes for walking indoors as well. The rule of thumb is, never walk barefoot!
- Inspect your feet every day, looking for redness, swelling, open sores, cuts, foul odor, etc. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your podiatrist immediately.
- Wash your feet every day with warm water and a mild soap
- When drying your feet, “pat’ each foot dry and be careful to gently dry in between your toes.
The complete list of diabetic foot care tips can be found on the East Penn Foot and Ankle website.
The Diabetic Foot and Ankle Center of the Lehigh Valley should be your first call if you have diabetes and notice anything out of the ordinary about your feet. Dr Teichman and his staff are expert at treating patients with neuropathy and they will create a preventative foot care plan for you to manage the devastating effects diabetes can have on your feet.