The COVID-19 pandemic is currently spreading across the world, causing widespread illness, suffering and death in certain cases. Particularly at risk from this disease are people with co-morbidities. Patients with diabetes or high blood pressure are two groups who are unfortunately quite vulnerable and can sometimes develop quite severe illness.
Diabetes, characterized by high levels of blood sugar, is a chronic illness affecting sixty million Indians. Some metabolic disorders that may accompany the illness are chronic kidney failure, diabetic ketoacidosis, nerve damage, heart disease and diabetic foot.
Diabetic foot results from diabetic neuropathy and/or peripheral vascular disease. The diabetic neuropathy can very quickly result in blisters, sores and ulcers that are unable to heal quickly, burning and tingling of the foot, tenderness of the big toe and numbness and loss of foot sensation.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when access to suitable hospital facilities is limited, it is particularly important to have a proper foot care regimen. Here are our top tips that will enable optimal foot care during COVID-19.
After returning home from the outdoors, shoes should be left outside the entrance to the home. Indoor shoes should be worn so that they protect the feet from the development of sores and cuts.
Feet should be washed with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. A medicated soap like Hibiscrub is available over the counter. For best results, leave Hibiscrub on for at least two minutes and then wash off well. Follow this regimen twice a day.
After cleansing, the feet should be well dried especially in between the toes. Surgical cotton dipped in surgical spirit may be dabbed in between the toes as this helps to dry out the vulnerable area properly. Trim the toenails regularly. Ideally, the nails should be trimmed straight across and any sharp edges smoothened down with a nail file. Moisturize the feet but not in between the toes. Lastly, wear well-fitting and comfortable footwear at home to minimize the risk of cracked heels, sores and ulcers developing.
When walking outdoors, suitable supportive shoes like diabetic shoes should be worn. Two pairs of shoes should be rotated on alternative days to allow for complete drying of the shoes, in between consecutive days of wearing. Custom insoles may provide a deodorizing effect. Fresh cotton socks and canvas or leather shoes are ideal for promoting foot health.
The loss of pain sensation in the feet due to diabetic neuropathy means that it is often possible to overlook sores and cuts that can quickly develop into a more serious condition. Daily foot checks are therefore essential. Use a mirror if you cannot access the bottom of your feet or ask someone to assist you in this practice.
Read more: Taking Care of Your Feet During Covid 19
Daily foot checks, cleansing of the feet, wearing appropriate shoes and never going barefoot are some important preventive steps to ensure foot health. These are our top foot care tips that should ensure optimal foot health during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.