If you have diabetic neuropathy and you like to exercise, then you must take exceptional care to prevent foot ulcers. Exercise can help your diabetes, but having it puts you at an increased risk of developing a foot wound. However, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of serious complications. Here are some things you can do to protect your feet from wounds.
Check Your Feet
Whether you exercise or not, make sure you check over your feet regularly. This is especially important for people with diabetes. When you have diabetic neuropathy, you may lose some sensation in your feet and not realize you are injured. People with diabetes also have circulation issues in their extremities and that affects your ability to heal even small wounds.
Wear Protective Shoes and Socks
Never go barefoot and always wear protective shoes and socks whenever you exercise. Aim to get socks that keep your feet dry and provide extra protection and padding around the toes. Wear sandals around the pool and aquatic shoes. Make sure your foot is well-supported and wear orthotics if needed.
Try Low Impact/Non-Weight-Bearing Exercises
Reduced sensation may lead to more sprains, strains, and fractures. Try switching to a lower impact or non-weight-bearing exercise if you notice increased soreness or stiffness in your feet, or develop a diabetic foot ulcer. Examples include walking and weight training. These exercises put less pressure on your feet. The worse the condition of your feet, the lower impact the exercise should be.
Any time you start a new exercise program, start out slowly. Be extra mindful of the pressure on your feet. Even if you don't feel tired, limit your exercise to short sessions at first. If you already have a diabetic foot wound, then ask your doctor for exercise suggestions. Your doctor may prescribe a special exercise plan or recommend equipment to help the circulation of your feet.
Clean and Moisturize Your Feet
After exercising, clean and moisturize your feet. This is also a good time to check them over again for new cuts and abrasions. Moisturizing helps reduce cracking and peeling that could also lead to infections. Use unscented moisturizers made especially for feet.
Having concerns about a diabetic foot wound doesn't mean you can't be active. Physical activity is good for your overall health. You just have to take more precautions with your feet than someone who doesn't have diabetes. If you have a severe diabetic foot wound, talk to your doctor before starting up a new exercise program. Speak to a professional about diabetic foot care.