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Why You Should Avoid Walking Barefoot When You Have Diabetes

Your feet are of extra concern when you have diabetes. Fluctuating glucose levels lead to poor blood flow and nerve damage so that even a small cut can become extremely dangerous.

You may not even notice this cut as it escalates to an infection that endangers the integrity of your foot – wounds have trouble healing, and you’re at risk for an amputation.

At Hoosier Foot and Ankle with multiple offices in Indiana, the team of expert podiatrists take extra care of diabetic feet. One of their major recommendations is never to walk barefoot if you have the metabolic condition.

The impact of diabetes on your feet

Diabetes can cause nerve damage, called peripheral neuropathy, that makes you lose feeling in your feet. This can be a disaster if you’re walking around without foot protection.

Diabetes can also compromise your circulation. Your feet are far away from your heart, and blood flow reduces to your soles, heels, and toes. Even if you do notice a cut, your body isn’t efficient at delivering healing nutrients through your blood to heal.

Why being barefoot is an issue

To state the obvious: When your feet aren’t protected, they’re more vulnerable to injury. This goes for walking around your home as well as outside. If you’re diabetic, we recommend you wear socks and shoes at all times.

If you’re sporting bare feet, it’s much more likely you’ll step on a pebble, stick, or even a piece of glass that cuts through your skin. You won’t feel especially hot pavement and could experience a serious burn. You may not even feel the pain of the injury, but the wound is present, and your body is ill-equipped to heal it. Not only will the cut linger, but infection can ensue and spread. The infection can also lead to gangrene – the death of your tissue – and the only recourse becomes amputation.

No matter how pristine you keep your house, it’s dangerous to walk indoors without shoes and socks, too. Someone could track in gravel or a stone from the outside. An item could fall that you step on, or you could break a glass and suffer a cut. If you stub a toe, you might damage the nail, which could lead to infection and potential complications.

Other foot precautions to take

Though wearing shoes and socks all the time is a good idea, other precautions help you avoid foot injury, infection, and complications. Wash your feet every day, and dry them thoroughly. Check them daily, too, even if you are wearing shoes daily, for any blisters, cuts, or abrasions. Schedule regular foot checks with us, too.

Choose shoes that are supportive, and don’t cramp your toes or rub against your heels. If you have an issue, such as hammertoes or a bunion, you may need shoes with an extra wide toe box. We can recommend the best footwear for your particular needs.

Before putting on your shoes, check the insides to make sure there are no rough seams or pebbles that could cause you injury during wear.

Foot care becomes serious when you have diabetes. At Hoosier Foot and Ankle, we strive to help your feet stay healthy and functional. Call today for your diabetic foot check, or make an appointment if you have a concern. Alternatively, schedule with us using the online tool.

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