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You don’t need to be on holiday to suffer from ‘Holiday feet’

You don’t need to be on holiday to suffer from ‘Holiday feet’
Posted on June 19, 2017
Archive : June 2017
Category : Blog

We are in the middle of a sizzling heatwave with temperatures up to 30° C which look like they are going to last! Extremes of temperature like this are normally only experienced when we go on holiday abroad when we expect them and are a bit more prepared!

People with diabetes must take extra care of their feet, especially if they have neuropathy (no feeling in their feet), while dealing with the high temperatures to ensure their feet are protected, kept clean, healthy and free from infection.

Most of us love the hot weather and can’t wait to either kick off our shoes or wear our beautiful sandals with our summer shorts and dresses. We only seem to wear them for 2 weeks a year when we are abroad, soaking up the sun. However, at present we are experiencing extreme temperatures while trying to go about our daily business, which we as Brits are not very good at doing!

Here are a few tips for people with diabetes on how to care for their feet in this weather.

Never walk bare-foot:

However tempting it is to walk around bare-foot, it really is a very bad idea. Walking on a hot pavement for only a few minutes can lead to bad burns, especially for those that have no feeling due to diabetic neuropathy. They can walk on hot ground, not feel the heat and end up with 2nd degree burns. They only realise there is damage when blood is seen on the floor where they have been walking.

Diabetic neuropathy leads to damaged nerve endings in the feet, removing the feeling of pain which highlights a potential burn or puncture wound from walking on stones or sharp objects lying on the ground. Therefore always wear shoes.

Wear shoes – not sandals:

Shoes are really the best protection for your feet in hot weather. Wearing sandals allow the feet to dry out, not only on the tops but also on the heels. Feet that dry out are more likely to develop skin breaks or cracks which can become infected very quickly and ulcerate.

Sandals also provide less protection from the elements as well as small stones or grit which can enter the sandal and not be felt. If you really want to wear sandals then you should alternate between shoes and sandals and carry out regular foot checks throughout the day. If you are wearing sandals then make sure you wear sunscreen on your feet.

Look out for dry feet and cracks:

You must check daily for dry patches or cracks on the surface AND the soles of your feet. Feet should be moisturised daily, after washing and drying them. Any cracks or breaks in the skin need to be carefully monitored. A crack or break in the skin can become quickly infected on a diabetic foot so advice should be sought if there is any deterioration witnessed.

NB - when applying moisturiser, don't use it between the toes and use a moisturiser specifically developed for people with diabetes.

Watch out for swollen feet:

When hot, feet can swell. This can lead to pressure sores or blisters from shoes as there is less room in your shoes. Make sure your shoes have been properly fitted and have no  rough edges inside which could rub. Check your feet regularly and always wear socks to provide a layer of protection.

Wash feet daily and inspect carefully twice a day:

The daily foot check for people with diabetes is crucial for protecting your feet from unnecessary damage. There is no ‘time off’ for people with diabetes in terms of this care. In the summer time due the extreme heat and drying conditions, that daily foot check is even more important. In fact, you should really be checking them twice a day at least so that you can spot damage as soon after it has happened, as possible. Washing your feet at night is probably best in the summer.

Hopefully these tips have been useful to keep your feet safe in the heat!

Remember you don’t need to be on holiday to suffer from “Holiday Feet’

References:-

http://www.napsnet.com/pdf_archive/53/65494.pdf

http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-information-articles/general/496-5-summer-foot-care-musts-for-people-with-diabetes


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