(ARA) – Trekking through the mall on holiday shopping excursions, shoveling out the driveway and playing in the snow with the kids—every winter, your feet log some long, chilly hours. For people with health issues like diabetes, foot health is especially important when the weather turns cold, as the disease can affect your body’s circulation even more so during the winter months. More than 26 million Americans have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. If you or a loved one have the disease, it’s important to remain vigilant against complications year-round, and especially during the winter when feet are exposed to cold and remain covered up for extended periods.
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) offers some podiatrist-approved advice to help those with diabetes maintain good foot health throughout the winter months:
* People with diabetes may experience loss of feeling in the toes and feet, which can be particularly dangerous during the winter. When walking outside, be sure to keep your feet protected from frostbite by wearing warm socks and proper footwear.
* Never walk in the snow in sneakers, dress shoes or sandals. Choose weather appropriate footwear that both fits comfortably and keeps feet dry and warm. You can find a list of footwear that have APMA’s Seal of Acceptance by visiting APMA’s website.
* You probably wouldn’t dream of going barefoot outside in the winter, but you shouldn’t do it inside, either. Always wear shoes and socks when walking outside, and at least wear socks inside. They afford a needed layer of warmth and protection. The type of hosiery you choose is important, too. Look for products made from breathable materials that won’t constrict blood flow, such as CrocsRx footwear. Because moisturizing feet in the dry winter months is also important, foot care products such as AmLactin XL Moisturizing Lotion keep feet and skin healthy while being safe for those with diabetes.
* Wash and inspect your feet daily. Perform your self-exam at the same time every day and watch for changes in skin color, sores, swelling, blisters, peeling, cracking or other signs of problem. When you have diabetes, even a minor wound can become a problem, so don’t wait to see a podiatrist if you develop an injury that’s not healing.
* Stay active. Physical activity aids circulation, which is critical for people with diabetes. Don’t let the cold weather be your excuse for becoming or staying sedentary. Get regular exercise, and don’t be afraid to do it outdoors. Just remember to properly protect your feet from moisture and cold while you’re outside.
Keeping feet healthy and pain-free can ensure a happy and healthy winter season. If you’re unsure of how to properly care for your feet during winter, or if you experience foot pain or a wound that won’t heal, see today’s podiatrist immediately.