If you have diabetes, chances are, you aren’t watching your feet as much as your blood sugar. However, a proper diabetic foot care routine can prevent foot ulcers, stave off infections and even save your limb.
Nerve damage and reduced blood circulation are typical diabetic symptoms. Due to the loss of sensitivity, people with diabetes tend not to notice blisters and small cuts on their feet. Though these wounds often heal, sometimes they do not.
In about 20% of diabetics, foot injuries may develop into open sores, resulting in a painful condition known as diabetic foot ulcer. Infected ulcers are the primary reason for thousands of amputations every year.
You can avoid being a part of this ugly statistic. Follow these simple guidelines and recipes for diabetic foot care to keep ulcers at bay and safeguard your feet from infection.
Guidelines for diabetic foot care
Diabetic foot ulcer is preventable, so see your doctor once you notice undesirable changes to your feet. Discovering an ulcer early prevents infection buildup at the site of the wound. Also, early treatment gives diabetic patients a fighting chance at salvaging their feet.
In general, people with diabetes should maintain proper foot hygiene by:
- Inspecting feet regularly to note any sores and assess the extent of sensitivity. Once a year, go to the hospital for a foot examination.
- Washing feet regularly with warm water. This helps to remove cracks and calluses on the feet.
- Trimming toenails short to avoid nail infection. You can also use an antibiotic nail oil. However, exercise caution to avoid accidental cuts.
- Using footwear with a wide toe box to prevent the feet getting squeezed and leave room for toes to wiggle. Never go barefoot.
- Controlling blood sugar level. This tackles nerve damage and circulation problems at the root, and provides a lasting solution to diabetic foot.
Foot Care Recipes for Diabetic Patients
Having quality foot care items readily available makes it a lot easier to establish a proper diabetic foot care routine. Our recipes for DIY foot care are easy to prepare from common materials, and give your feet that much needed tender loving care.
Here are our top five recipes for diabetic foot care:
- Exfoliating Foot Scrub recipe
- Herbal foot bath
- Moisturizing foot lotion
- Clay foot mask
- Nail oil to prevent infections
Cleanse and Massage
Dried skin cracks easily, and may have calluses. It can be tempting to shave off calluses when you notice them, but this only exposes the foot to infection. There are no shortcuts – you have to wash and scrub those feet often.
Recipe #1: Exfoliating Foot Scrub
This DIY foot care recipe uses essential oils to cleanse feet and help soften calluses. Consisting of sunflower oil, lavender and lemon, this foot scrub can be used with a pumice stone to remove cracks.
You will need:
- ¼ cup of organic sunflower oil,
- 4 drops of lemon essential oil & 8 drops of lavender
- A cup of fine sea salt, filled to about ¾
To prepare, mix the sunflower oil with the essential oils in a small bowl and stir until completely blended. Next, add salt bit-by-bit until the mixture reaches the consistency of wet sand. Store the product in an airtight jar.
Use your home-made foot scrub after dipping feet in warm water, but do not soak. Dry your foot afterwards by patting gently with a towel.
Soften and Hydrate – with caution
Though soaking your feet in a foot bath can be ultra-moisturising, it actually increases the risk of injury to a diabetic foot. Unless advised by a doctor, do not use Epsom salt in your foot bath as they tend to dry out the skin over time.
That said, herb-infused water should be used alongside your foot scrub to hydrate your feet. Just remember to dry your feet after, and avoid soaking for long periods.
Recipe #2: Herbal Foot Bath
You can prepare this herbal mixture in large batches and store the excess, so it is readily available for a foot wash at any time.
You will need:
First, cut up the herbs and mix thoroughly in a large basin. Then tie up the mixture in a drawstring muslin bag, and pour about a gallon of warm water over it. No other additives are needed.
Safety Tip: To avoid scalding, ensure the water is at a comfortable temperature before using it on your feet. Hot water can cause severe damage to your foot, even when you are unable to feel the burn.
Exfoliate and Moisturize
One of the aims of diabetic foot care is to prevent sore feet as much as possible. A good foot cream will be easily absorbed into the skin, preventing soreness and calluses from developing on pressurized areas of the foot.
Recipe #3: Soothing Foot Cream
This recipe consists of olive oil and shea butter – ingredients that soften and ease sore feet. Follow these instructions to prepare ½ a cup of soothing lotion for your feet.
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons of organic refined shea butter
- 10 wafers of roasted cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and coconut oil
- ½ a spoon of organic non-GMO verified vitamin E oil
Combine the butters with olive and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler and heat gently. When the mixture turns liquid, pour into a bowl and leave to cool. You may want to put it in the refrigerator.
Usually, the edges will solidify first. Once the inner regions begin to turn solid, whip with a hand mixer until it is fluffy. Add vitamin E oil and whip till the cream stiffens.
Safety Tip: Do not rub any kind of lotion between your toes to avoid infections.
Recipe #4: Clay Foot Mask
To exfoliate dead skin and remove cracks, you can use this foot mask recipe. It is simple, inexpensive, and can be done in less than half an hour. To perform this foot treatment, you will need to find a comfortable place to sit with your feet hoisted up.
You will need:
- 3 tablespoons of bentonite clay
- 3 – 4 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar
- 5 drops of organic tea tree essential oil
First, prepare some towels, a pair of socks, and a basin with warm (not hot!) water near you. In a different bowl, measure some clay and add apple cider vinegar and essential oil while mixing to form a paste.
Apply this mixture over both feet, excluding the toes, and leave for 15 – 30 minutes. Rinse and dry afterwards.
Safety Tip: Wear seamless socks even when indoors. They keep your feet clean, and prevent wet feet from letting you slip.
Protect your Nails
Nail infection is quite common in the general population. For people with diabetes, it can be very dangerous since the immune system is compromised. Besides routine scrubbing and nail trimming, daily application of antibiotic nail oil offers an extra layer of protection from foot deformities.
Recipe #5: Antifungal Nail Oil
Small self care steps like this recipe fight against persistent fungal infections, while also providing relief from other sources of infection, such as bacteria. Use this recipe to safeguard your nails and feet.
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons each of argan and jojoba oils
- ¼ cupful of rose petals (or dried rose buds)
- ¼ tablespoon of organic tea tree essential oil,
or 6 drops of clove bud essential oil
or 12 drops of myrrh
- 5 drops of non-GMO vitamin E oil
In the top of a double boiler, mix argan and jojoba oils with rose petals. Heat gently to approximately 110°F. You should try to keep the herbs around this temperature to avoid burning them.
After about 4 hours, the oil should have a rosy scent. Turn off the heat and leave for a bit. While the oil is still warm, but cool enough to handle, strain out the rose petals. Combine the cooled oil with essential oil and vitamin E oil in a bottle with a dropper lid.
Shake the bottle well to thoroughly mix the constituent oils before using.
Diabetic foot care should be a priority to you – just as important as checking your glucose levels or taking medication. However, it doesn’t have to burn holes in your wallet. Using our inexpensive herbal recipes can provide you with adequate diabetic foot care.
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