Tips for Keeping Your Diabetic Feet Healthy During the Holidays
It’s no secret. The holiday season is accompanied by many risks and temptations—especially for those with diabetes.
That’s not to say you should fear the upcoming festivities. On the contrary, we hope it’s a time of joy for you, with family, friends, and a lot of delicious food! We want you to have fun!
But at the same time, it’s important to remember that the holidays are no time to forget about your daily, diligent diabetic foot care. A slip up now could lead to painful and even dangerous consequences that we’re sure you’d rather avoid.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult—and you probably already know the basics. It just takes some discipline.
Keep Up with Your Established Routines
If you’ve been living with diabetes for a while, you hopefully have developed some healthy everyday habits, including:
- Giving your feet a 5-minute self-examination at least once per day
- Always wearing comfortable, supportive shoes both indoors and out
- Keeping your feet clean and moisturized
- Regularly checking your sugar and keeping it within a normal range
- Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, at least 3-5 times per week
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to “cheat” and skip a couple of days. Don’t make this mistake!
For one, even skipping a couple of days can significantly increase the danger to your feet and ankles—especially if it means you go a couple of days without noticing a cut or blister.
But on top of that, remember that it’s so much easier to break a habit than to make one. And once you’ve skipped one day, it’s much easier to skip another, and then another, and then another …
So, stay strong!
Fill Your Holiday Plate Wisely
Just about any person with diabetes knows how easy it is to go overboard on carbs during the holidays. Cookies. Candy. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Cranberry sauce. Corn bread. Apple pie. We probably don’t need to go on.
We’re not saying you have to deny yourself the pleasures of a good meal, but as always, make wise choices.
- Limit your portion sizes for carb-heavy dishes. They should really only make up about a quarter of your plate at most.
- Load up on leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables like carrots and green beans. Ideally, don’t cook them in lots of butter or oil or cover them in dressing or dip.
- Go easy on the sweets.
If you’re the one preparing the food, you can often make your meals a little lighter by cutting the amount of oil in the recipe and using healthier oils in general like canola or olive oil.
Prepare for Travel
The holidays are always one of the busiest travel seasons of the year, as many people travel across the country—or around the world—to be with loved ones who live far away. (Or, alternatively, taking a vacation somewhere warm!)
When you’re going to be spending time away from the comfort of home, it’s important to be prepared. Always make sure you pack a few pairs of comfortable shoes, climate-appropriate socks, a first-aid kit, and—if necessary—insulin and snacks for the actual car or plane ride itself.
We’d also recommend you check in with your primary care physician before you plan to leave for an extended period of time and keep your doctor’s phone number and an up-to-date list of medications in your wallet. You may also want to wear medical identification, just in case of emergencies.
If you’re one of the lucky ones traveling to a toasty southern locale, remember to still follow your doctor’s orders in regard to wearing open-toed shoes or sandals. Exposed feet and toes are much more likely to be injured, especially if neuropathy is in play.
Make a Lasting Resolution
Of course, the holiday season ends with New Year’s Day—and for many of us, that means making a few important resolutions about how we’re going to improve ourselves in the coming year.
If you have diabetes, making a resolution that will benefit your feet or your health in general might be the best decision you make all year—provided you can keep it.
Start by taking a look at that list of healthy habits we posted earlier in the blog. Are you really checking your feet every day? Wearing proper shoes at all times? Checking your sugar as often as you should? If not, make 2020 the year where you finally build those habits.
Some other good choices include quitting smoking (if you smoke) or losing weight (if you’re overweight). These are obviously good for your overall health, but they’re especially beneficial for those with diabetes.
Don’t Forget Your Appointment
One more thing: if you haven’t had your yearly diabetic foot checkup at the Community Foot Clinic of McPherson, don’t let the holiday season pass before booking your next appointment.
Even if you haven’t noticed any particular symptoms recently, diabetic complications like peripheral neuropathy and peripheral artery disease have a way of sneaking up on you. By the time you notice a problem, the damage may already be done.
We’ll make sure your feet are in top shape, screen you for any problems you may not have detected yet and determine if you need a new pair of diabetic shoes—or any other preventative measures.
To schedule an appointment with us, please give us a call today at (620) 241-3313. Alternatively, you can get in touch online and request an appointment via our online form.