Remember This Little Piggy? That nursery rhyme about your toes?
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
This little piggy went…
Wee, wee, wee,
all the way home!
All piggies accounted for!
Most of us start taking that for granted soon after we grow too old for the nursery and its many venerable rhymes. This Little Piggy in particular should always be remembered by those who develop diabetes.
It can literally save your toes.
Some unfortunate side effects of diabetes include nerve damage and reduced blood flow in the feet.
Without proper blood flow, injuries may not heal and infection can set in. Parts of your foot may need to be amputated. It’s crucial to find and treat any cuts or sores as soon possible, but those very threats might be harder to detect.
Nerve damage caused by diabetes may make it difficult for your piggies to cry “wee wee wee” loud enough when they’re in trouble.
That’s why you need to keep an eye on them and make sure they’re all accounted for every day.
Here are some foot care tips for those of us who suffer from diabetes:
Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.
Bathe feet in lukewarm, never hot, water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm water—the temperature you would use on a newborn baby.
Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes.
Moisturize your feet but not between your toes. Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But don’t moisturize between the toes—that could encourage a fungal infection.
Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toenails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor.
Never treat corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.
Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily.
Consider socks made specifically for patients living with diabetes. These socks have extra cushioning, do not have elastic tops, are higher than the ankle and are made from fibers that wick moisture away from the skin.
Wear socks to bed. If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet. This is helpful if you have excessive sweating of the feet.
Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Do not smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.