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When you have diabetes, caring for your feet should be a priority. This is because diabetes can lead to many different types of foot problems. Having high blood sugar for a long time can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your feet. Decreased blood flow puts you at risk for foot infections that are hard to heal. Because the nerves are damaged you may have unusual sensations in your feet or you may even lose the ability to notice pain and pressure. As a result, you can have a foot infection and not be aware of it until it's serious. Even minor scrapes can be serious in someone with diabetes. Caring for and examining your feet regularly along with keeping your blood sugar levels under control may lower your risk for foot problems.
Because longstanding high blood sugar damages blood vessels, it reduces blood flow or circulation to your feet. As a result, your feet may feel cold much of the time. Special diabetic foot creams that contain an amino acid called L-arginine may help open up blood vessels to warm cold feet. Creams that contain L-arginine may have another benefit. Some research suggests L-arginine may help prevent diabetic foot ulcers, a common problem among diabetics. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made that L-arginine can help in these areas. Along with L-arginine, diabetic foot creams contain moisturizers along with vitamins and minerals to nourish and soften your feet.
People who have diabetes are more prone towards skin dryness. This dryness can cause your feet to crack and peel. Herbal-based foot care creams are available for dry, peeling skin on the legs and feet. These creams contain soothing, anti-inflammatory herbs like chamomile and nourishing almond and avocado oil. The ingredients work together to smooth rough, peeling skin and soften calluses. Just as important, they're free of synthetic dyes, mineral oil and parabens that can irritate the skin.
Uncontrolled diabetes causes nerve damage that can lead to foot pain. Diabetic foot pain relief creams are formulated with an ingredient called capsaicin found in chili peppers. Capsaicin may provide temporary relief for foot pain and tingling when you rub it on your feet. Plus, it's odorless and greaseless.
When you have diabetes it's important to keep your feet clean and dry. Wet feet encourage the growth of yeast and other fungi that cause skin infections. Diabetic crew socks are ideal for keeping your feet and lower legs free of moisture and odor. Unlike some socks, they have a non-constricting band at the top that won't squeeze your leg and interfere with circulation. The socks can be worn alone or with shoes.
For tired, achy legs, anti-fatigue compression socks give your feet and lower legs support while enhancing circulation. They're ideal for those long days when you do a lot of standing. Mild compression knee-high socks in ultra-sheer give your legs added circulatory support without the bulk of a sock. Wear them in place of hose when you need more support for your legs and feet.
Regular foot exams and foot care can help you prevent serious diabetic foot infections. Examine your feet daily and look for new sores, abrasions or calluses. Even a minor sore or abrasion can become an ulcer in a diabetic. If you see anything new, bring it to the attention of your doctor. See your doctor or health care provider regularly for foot exams too so you can treat foot problems as early as possible.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.