It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Families trimming their trees and cozying up under the blankets to watch the snow gently fall upon the ground. But with all the tempting treats and chilly weather, celebrating the holidays can also interrupt the health routines of those with diabetes.
Keeping diabetes in check throughout the season can be challenging. There are pies to bake, cookies to decorate, and a litany of holiday movies to watch with your loved ones. Luckily, we’ve put together a little poem to help you remember the most important foot health and safety tips of the season, with a little help from Mr. Clement Clarke Moore’s “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Hit it!
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
Your stockings festooned on the mantle should serve as a reminder to conduct daily foot health checks. Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk of ulcers and foot infections due to decrease circulation in the lower legs.
Diabetes strains the vascular system, constricting blood vessels and impeding blood flow to the feet. This causes a double-whammy danger to patients: less oxygen, fewer blood cells, and fewer nutrients hinders the feet’s ability to recover from wounds. Additionally, low circulation causes numbness, making it very difficult to feel any new cuts, sores, or blisters.
Long shopping trips, ice skating outings, and snow-shoveling can all take a toll on your feet. To overcome the loss of sensation in the feet, patients with diabetes need to visually check for signs of fresh wounds or frostbite. So relax in your favorite armchair by the fire, carefully inspect the bottoms, tops, and backs of your feet, including in between the toes. Check for:
- Fungus build-up
- Skin discoloration
Don’t ignore foot wounds: the number one cause of hospitalization among diabetic patients is foot ulceration. In extreme cases, the foot cannot be salvaged, and you may have to ask Santa for a new prosthetic after your amputation surgery!
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
Santa’s reindeer never have to worry about their footwear during their holiday travels, but this should be a top concern for diabetes patients. Those of us who won’t be flying around the country in a magic sleigh need to be prepared for long lines and longer flights.
Take a look at current TSA regulations for footwear. Most security checkpoints require that you remove your shoes, so you will want to make sure your shoes can easily slip on and off. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes that protect your feet from stray wheeled luggage and other dangers. Avoid high heels and flip-flops, and don’t try to break in a new pair of shoes on the flight – they may rub you the wrong way and then you’ll be stuck with them.
Many patients with diabetes wear prescription footwear – it’s best not to remove these devices. Ask to speak to a supervisor and come prepared with a doctor’s note.
On long flights, you will want to stand up and walk around periodically to keep the blood flowing to your feet. Sitting for too long can cause swelling and numbness.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
St. Nick knows to keep his feet warm through the blistering cold weather. If you’ll be outdoors for more than an hour, wear warm boots and socks to fend off frostbite. In snowy weather, be sure to wear weather-proof boots to keep chilly moisture out.
Keep your tootsies dry with moisture-wicking wool/synthetic blends. Cutting down on moisture helps to keep blisters and fungal infections at bay. Wet socks should be removed immediately and replaced with a dry pair. Dry your socks in the dryer, or get festive and hang them above the fireplace – ‘tis the season!
Clean, dry feet should be properly moisturized with a nutrient-rich lotion. Really slather the lotion onto your heels, especially if they look dry and cracked. Avoid applying lotion in between your little piggies – this can lead to awkward rubbing, and cause blisters or infections.
If you have any questions regarding your foot health, don’t hesitate to contact us at (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, our top priority is keeping you and your family safe and healthy throughout the year.
As a teaching institution, University Foot and Ankle Institute’s Fellowship Program is among the most advanced in the nation.
We at UFAI are driven to get our patients back to their normal activities with the highest level of function, in the least amount of time, using the least invasive treatments possible. From start to finish, we are with you every step of the way.
The UFAI Education Team works to help empower our patients and website visitors with the most up-to-date information about foot and ankle conditions, treatment options, recovery and injury prevention. Our goal is to pass on truly useful information to our readers.
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