If you have diabetes, dry skin can be the result of uncontrolled blood sugar affecting the nerves in your feet and legs. This can cause your feet to not get messages from your brain to sweat. Sweat is what keeps your skin moist and soft.
When this occurs, it is due to a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Fortunately, moisturizing as part of your daily routine can help keep your feet feeling soft and hydrated.
Dry Skin Dangers for Diabetics
When dry skin happens in diabetics, it can be dangerous. Dry skin on your feet and heels can crack and create an opening for bacteria and viruses to enter. When this happens, a heel fissure can occur.
Heel fissures are often deep and can easily get infected, bleed, and lead to further complications such as hospitalization or even amputation of the foot. If you have a heel fissure, consult with your podiatrist for treatment options. It is important to treat any deep cracks or fissures before they worsen. Once your fissure heals, then you can begin a daily moisturizing routine at home.
Moisturizing Tips for Diabetic Feet
Using a daily moisturizer on your feet can not only leave them looking great but will also keep them healthy. Moisturizer can soothe the skin, relieve aching feet, and provide hydration to dry areas of the feet. There are several tips to consider when choosing and using a moisturizer for your diabetic feet. These include:
Pay attention to ingredients.
Look for lotions that contain ingredients such as jojoba oil, shea butter, and urea. These ingredients are deeply moisturizing and can penetrate through hardened skin. You will also want to look for products that are free of fragrance and chemicals that can irritate the skin.
Target problem areas.
When applying a lotion to your feet, target areas such as the tops, sides, and bottoms of your feet paying close attention to your heels. Avoid applying moisturizer between your toes since it can promote fungal growth.
Massage to promote better circulation.
After you wash and dry your feet, apply moisturizer generously. When applying the lotion, massage it in a circular motion using your fingertips to promote blood circulation throughout your feet.
Cracked skin or sores.
If you have cracked skin or sores on your feet that are not healing, consult with your podiatrist for assistance. It is important for diabetics to get any sores that do not heal evaluated immediately.
In addition to applying lotion daily to your feet, you can also:
Wash your feet daily.
Wash your feet daily in warm water using a mild soap. Hot water can dry out your skin and harsh soaps can cause irritation. After washing, be sure to dry your feet completely especially between your toes.
Remove dead skin.
Use a pumice stone on thickened skin of your feet to gently file away dead skin and allow for the moisturizer to penetrate more effectively. In addition to the pumice stone, you can also exfoliate your feet using a foot scrub. This can help with removing dead skin and can keep the feet and heels soft.
Wear cotton socks.
If you apply lotion to your feet at night, you can wear cotton socks over it to keep the moisture locked in. Socks will also protect your feet.
Pay attention to trouble areas.
Examine your feet daily and look for any open cracks or sores.
Do You Need a Caring and Experienced Podiatrist?
If you are diabetic, have questions about diabetic foot care, and need help, contact our office for an evaluation. You can contact us online to schedule your appointment or call one of our convenient El Paso offices directly. To reach our Sierra Tower Building podiatrist office, please call 915.533.5151. You can find driving directions here. To reach our George Dieter Drive podiatry office, please call 915.856.3331. Driving directions are available here.