I haven’t posted much (or at all) about diabetic foot care, though it is one of the most important aspects! Today, on one of the diabetes support groups I’m in, a member wrote the following:
“Any advice for diabetic foot care, especially spending a lot of time in a pool? As we speak, hubby is in the hospital due to a horrible infection in his toe. He wasn’t even aware of it! I noticed it and we went right to the ER. They considered removing part of the toe, but for now they are trying strong antibiotics. But, going forward, I’m wondering if he should wear something on his feet in the pool. I think it’s making the skin extra soft putting him at greater risk.”
My first thought was of my friend, Paula Edwardsen, who is a certified, licensed medical nail technologist in the state of California. I posed this question to her, and this was her response:
“Actually, diabetics should stay out of pools, period. The basic rule for diabetics is no soaking in water. Water dries out feet, especially warm water. Second rule for diabetics: no lotion between toes.
“The main reason for these rules is that most diabetics have neuropathy. It doesn’t say if your husband is type 1 or 2.
“Water and lotion both break down the skin. Skin between toes is already fragile and it does not need to be weakened anymore. That is the reason for both rules.
“Also missing is your husband’s A1C count. Another huge factor. Is he controlled or uncontrolled?”
“If he continues to be in a pool, I would buy him some aqua shoes. Not slippers, but the type of shoes that looks like Crocs™. Second, I would have him wear diabetic socks with his aqua shoes. You don’t want any friction on his toes or restriction of his toes. Blood flow to the feet is another factor.
“If he were my patient, I’d advise him to limit pool time or no pool time other than a quick dip and back out. Too many dangers.
- 25% of all diabetics will get an ulcer.
- 85% of those that get ulcers will experience a digit/foot removal.
- 50% of diabetics who have an amputation will die within 3 years.
“Foot care is crucial!”