Winter can be a difficult season for people with diabetes. When it gets colder, peripheral neuropathy (loss of feeling in your extremities) becomes more difficult to manage for a few different reasons.
In the cold weather, you tend to keep your feet covered more often; this is natural, since you want your feet to stay warm. Unfortunately, when you don’t feel your feet very well and you aren’t looking at them as often, it can be easy to overlook a small injury that could be developing into a dangerous ulcer.
Some of the more common places where ulcers can occur are on the ball of your foot or on the bottom of your big toe—if your feet are always covered by heavy socks or stuffed into large winter boots, you can easily develop a callus in one of those places. Left untreated, and without proper care and attention, calluses can become infections and lead to further diabetic foot complications.
Additionally, when it’s already cold outside and poor circulation makes your feet even colder than other people’s, you may try to warm them with hot water or heating pads. This can be dangerous, since you may unwittingly burn yourself in your struggle to warm up.
In order to avoid winter setbacks and keep your feet healthy, follow these tips from your Houston podiatrist:
- Inspect your feet at least twice a day, if not more often, even if it means letting them get cold for a minute or two
- Get regular exercise—it’s a great way to warm up and improve circulation without risking burns
- Skin is naturally dryer during the winter; use plenty of moisturizer to combat this problem and prevent problematic calluses.
Stay vigilant! At the first sign of any foot infection, call Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate office visit.