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Tips For Dealing With Dry Feet From Diabetes

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dry feet diabetes

Diabetes affects millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide. Diabetes can attack and affect every single part of your body in a multitude of different ways, your feet are no different. Having dry feet with diabetes increases your risk of foot infection, foot ulcers, and amputation. Dry feet, legs, and shins with diabetes is a serious issue and can cause problems if not addressed. To learn about the other ways that diabetes can affect your feet, click here for one of my blog posts on this topic here.

Why do diabetics have issues with dry feet?

1. Reduced Moisture Retention

One of the main reasons for dry feet and legs in people with diabetes is that the body is less likely to hold onto enough water for good hydration. The high blood sugar levels in diabetes can lead to increased urination or going to the bathroom a lot, causing dehydration. The skin on your feet or legs can lose moisture, becoming dry, flaky, and cracked.

2. Peripheral Neuropathy

The high blood sugars seen in diabetes can attack the nerves in your feet leading to the symptoms seen in peripheral neuropathy, also known as diabetic neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is responsible for the numbness, tingling, and burning seen in many diabetic feet. Diabetic neuropathy does also affect the nerves responsible for your sweat and oil glands working properly, and this is one of the key factors in diabetics having issues is very dry skin on their feet and legs.

3. Poor Blood Flow or Circulation

Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD is unfortunately seen in many diabetics. as well. Diabetes can attack the arteries and make it much harder for blood to reach the legs and feet. This leads to poor circulation or blood flow. Poor blood flow due to PAD, in addition to increasing your risks of chronic wounds or ulcers, gangrene, and amputation, also can make the skin on your feet much drier. Poor circulation to your feet makes it harder for nutrients and moisture to the skin, leading to dry skin, cracks, and fissures on the feet and legs, especially the soles of the feet.

Why dry skin in diabetics can be dangerous?

Cracked skin on the feet and legs can be a doorway for bacteria and fungi to enter your body, increasing your risk of infections. Dryness and the loss of elasticity in the skin can lead to the formation of painful fissures, a very deep crack in the skin, which can be prone to bleeding, and becoming infected as well. Infections in the diabetic foot can be challenging to treat and become life-threatening or even cause amputations due to diabetes lowering your immune response and making it much harder to heal wounds than in someone without diabetes.

4 Lotions or Moisturizers For Dry Diabetic Feet

1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for Diabetics Dry Skin

CeraVe is a brand developed and constantly recommended by dermatologists but for good reason. This brand is affordable, and easily accessible because it can be found in stores all across the country. CeraVe products actually work as well, which makes this cream a great choice for dry diabetic feet and legs.

2. Gold Bond Ultimate Diabetic Dry Skin Relief

Gold Bond is another tried and true band. Gold Bond is known for their moisturizers and creams for diabetic skin that work phenomenally well

3. O'Keefe's for Healthy Feet Cream

O'Keefes is a brand that also has longevity. Their Health Feet Cream is touted as the "#1 foot cream in America". This product is very thick, probably the thickest on the list, and also contains urea, a gentle acid, great for calluses or cracked skin. This product is ideal for the soles of your feet, especially if you're dealing with extreme dryness on your heels or the ball of your foot.

4. Eucerin Advanced Repair Light Feel Foot Cream

Eucerin is a brand that has been around for over 100 years, and for this reason, and well respected, and highly regarded in the skincare space. Eucerin's Advanced Repair Light Feel Foot Cream contains lactic acid, a gentle acid great for those with especially rough, bumpy, flakey skin as it eats away at this dead skin to reveal softer, smoother skin over time.

5. Aloe Vesta Moisturizer

While in residency, I spent many months working in our hospital's wound care center. Many of our patients here were diabetic, with extremely dehydrated skin. This was our moisturizer of choice and the only moisturizer that we used in this wound care center. Aloe Vesta is given to people saying overnight at some hospitals as well. This is a potent moisturizer and works for the driest of skin.

Having dry feet and skin is a common problem with diabetics due to this disease making it harder for your body to hold onto moisture, neuropathy affecting the lubrication of your skin, along with poor circulation making it much harder for vital nutrients to reach your skin. Having dry skin on the diabetic foot is not something that should be ignored. Being diligent about moisturizing your feet and legs daily, helps to keep the skin on your feet and legs healthy, and hydrated, and lowers your risk of wounds, ulcers, infection, hospitalization, and amputation. If you are looking for additional products to add to your diabetic foot care kit, read one of my other blog posts on this topic here

Looking for a doctor that does diabetic foot care in the Phoenix area? My name is Dr. Tarr, and I am the owner of Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe. To view my available appointment times, click here.

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