As the holidays approach, many of us travel by car or plane to be with family and friends. In someone with diabetes, this increase in activity can place the foot at risk for complications, like ulcers or infections. Here are some common sense tips to prevent foot problems from ruining your holiday.
1. Wear sensible shoes and socks. While this seems logical, it commonly leads to problems. Realize that airport transfers and travel will increase the number of steps per day one takes. If you have prescription shoes, wear them. If not, use a good pair of sneakers. Socks should be worn to prevent shearing of shoe on the skin when walking.
2. Prepare for airport security. Airport security procedures require you to take off your shoes and place them through the x-ray. Make sure you are wearing shoes easy to remove. If you have a wound and are wearing prescription shoes or a device, you should not remove them. Ask to speak to a TSA supervisor or bring a note from your doctor.
3. Inspect your feet daily. Take a look at your feet for signs of wear, like blistering or discoloration. If you can’t see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member.
4. Use a moisturizing cream. Air travel can dry your skin. Excessive walking can cause calluses. Rub in a good moisturizer nightly on your feet.
5. Use shower shoes. Showers can pass along all sorts of bacteria and virus, some that even cause warts. You may be visiting family, but don’t bring home those types of presents. Use plastic sandals in the shower to protect your feet.
6. Prepare for complications. You may have difficulty accessing qualified care for a diabetic foot complication. Keep your doctor’s number handy. Call first if you develop a wound or blister. If you develop an infection, you may need to go to the emergency room.