The key to Dealing with Diabetes is to take care of yourself, and Channel 8 wants to help you with that. More>>
For a diabetic, the winter months are a time when more attention than usual should be given to the feet. A local physician tells the Eye on Health team that reduced circulation due to cold weather is only part of the problem.
Las Vegas resident and diabetic, Rosemary Hendrickson shivers at the thought of ignoring her feet during the winter. "I do make sure my feet are clean. I wear the proper socks. I wear the proper shoes. Because I'm not going to loose a digit because of being a diabetic," she says.
Diabetics are at risk for having reduced blood flow to the lower extremities. An otherwise minor injury, like a blister, can escalate into a serious wound. And winter time can be especially hazardous, according to Las Vegas podiatrist, Jodi Politz. One reason is, the feet are covered up for longer periods of time and aren't being checked as often as they should.
Dr. Politz says, "They really should pull their shoes and socks off to look at their feet to make sure, one, their shoes aren't tight causing any kind of friction rubbing. Which would be more of a reddened spot on the top of the toes or on the sides of the bones. They should definitely be checking their heels as well."
Poor circulation can also lead to increased swelling and dryness of the feet. Cold weather exacerbates the problem by further reducing blood flow and by indirectly reducing exercise.
"A lot of people too in the winter have a tendency to be a little bit more sedentary. They're not walking around as much. They're sitting around their houses which will make their feet and ankles swell a little bit more," Dr. Politz said.
The doctor adds that this time of year, she sees more burns on the feet of diabetics, from heating pads or hot water. "Try to steer clear from the heating pads, the warming blankets, the hot footbath whirlpools people are putting their feet in. If you're going to do that, check the water with the elbows. You don't loose feeling in your elbows as you would with your fingers and toes."
Dry weather prompts some to use a moisturizer. But when the feet are covered by socks for long periods of time, athlete's foot becomes a problem. So an anti-fungal creme might be more appropriate, on the advice of your doctor.
And remember, if a sore on your foot does not begin to heal after a day or so, be sure to tell your doctor.
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