Diabetes is a genetic/lifestyle disease characterized by high blood sugar.
If the condition is left unattended, a diabetes patient can easily develop complications such as nerve damage and poor circulation.
These complications increase the risk of foot problems such as cold feet in diabetic people, especially during cold weather.
It’s paramount to keep feet warm if you have diabetes, but there’re so many considerations that go into this.
This article will discuss various crucial aspects of foot warmers for diabetics.
Why is foot-warming for people with diabetes special?
Generally, the feet are enemies of cold weather. Anything that causes dampness can lead to a bacterial infection to the feet and toes.
Besides avoiding anything damp and staying in contact with feet, diabetics should focus on staying warm.
Foot warming for diabetics is, however, not business as usual and there’re reasons for that.
*First, considering the neuropathy (nerve damage) diabetes causes in patients, it’s not advisable for the feet to come into contact with direct/ high heat.
Extreme temperature changes may aggravate the existing foot condition.
*Due to nerve damage, Diabetics usually have a problem of numbness. This is a real problem as patients may not realize when their feet are burning.
Second or third-degree burns can easily affect diabetics due to this.
Considering the above reasons, ensure that you’re not using too hot water to wash/soak your feet.
You can simply do this by hand check or through a thermometer.
So, what’s the perfect solution?
Several things can help keep your feet safely warm while you manage diabetes. Let’s look into some of the commonly used strategies.
1. Wear Diabetes socks
These are socks designed to keep diabetics feet warm and dry at all times regardless of the weather.
Diabetes socks are a crucial instrument for managing Diabetic neuropathy as other than keeping the feet warm and dry, they improve blood circulation and decrease the risk of injuries.
Qualities of good Diabetes socks
• Warm- The main goal to wear diabetes socks is to keep your feet warm.
Good quality, warm socks will improve blood circulation in the feet and legs regions, thus alleviating problems such as pain and numbness.
• Moisture-wicking- This is one of the most critical features of Diabetes socks. Moisture-wicking socks keep your feet dry, reducing the risk of infections.
• Breathable- As much as you want warm apparel, you also need something that’s comfy to wear. Breathable socks will always keep your feet dry and fresh.
• Fitted- Good diabetes socks should fit your feet and lower section of your legs perfectly, without leaving any loose fabric.
Loose fabric can run against your legs, causing injuries if you have sensitive shoes. If loose diabetes socks are worn with tight shoes, they can cause serious injuries.
• Padded- To relieve pressure and prevent the occurrence of foot injuries, go for socks with good-quality padding.
• Seamless- The best Diabetic socks have no significant seams and their texture will not cause any injuries on your feet.
Additional tip: If you get cold feet regularly, wear two pairs of socks at a time or one pair over stockings.
2. Wear compression stockings
Compression stockings are an excellent method to warm the better part of your lower legs.
As the name suggests, these stockings apply pressure to your lower legs when worn, improving blood flow towards the upper sections of the body.
When blood is flowing, the chances of getting cold feet are significantly reduced.
Compression stockings come in a variety of sizes and pressure levels.
Although these apparels are available over the counter, it’s advisable to talk to a medical professional to know the kind that will work for you.
Here are some other benefits of compression stockings that are worth mentioning while here:
• They reduce pain and swelling due to the pressure effect and improved circulation
• Reduces the risk of developing blood clots and consequently related conditions such as heart attack
• Decreases the risk of infections, especially if the compression stocking warmers used are moisture-wicking and bacteria-resistant
Diabetes socks vs. compression stocking
Yes, there’s the option of wearing both, especially if the temperatures are very low and you’re more prone to cold, but are there differences between the two?
These two foot warmers for diabetics aren’t too different, but there’re some notable distinctions.
• Diabetes socks are less binding compared to compression stocking, making them preferable for people with sensitive skin
• Compression stocking have more bands through their ankle to knee length than diabetic socks that only have 2.
• Most diabetic socks come with padding on the bottom to relieve pressure, while stockings do not.
3. Invest in proper shoes
The shoes recommended for diabetics should be well-fitting, comfortable and preferably have a wide toe box and supportive soles.
If you live in an area that experiences very low temperatures, proper shoes should be your number one foot warmers.
They’ll keep frostbites and foot ulcers at bay, especially if you’re dealing with neuropathy and are unable to detect when your feet are freezing.
4. Wear warm comfy slippers
If you’re an indoor person, then a pair of, warm comfy slippers can in handy as your feet warmers.
Plush slippers with gentle elicitation, memory foam insole and non-slip outsole are ideal for diabetics.
If you can get slippers with removable heat pads, the better, as you’ll be able to quickly warm them before wearing.
If you use heat pads, though, remember to test if the slipper’s temperature is appropriate for your feet before wearing them.
5. Invest in a thermometer
A thermometer may seem like a mere tool, but it can add a lot of precision to your feet-temperature management processes.
You can, for example, use a thermometer to check room temperature so that you can know what’s suitable as leg warmers.
Before putting your feet in the water, you can also check if the temperature is bearable.
Any massaging action on your feet can help improve blood circulation and offset some level of numbness, thus alleviating cold feet problems.
Applying moisturizer as you massage your feet is one clever way to achieve this, among other benefits.
Check on our additional feet care tips for diabetics section to know more reasons why you should take moisturizing seriously.
7. Keep yourself active
Inactivity is real for diabetes patients, especially during the cold season.
It’s easy to get cold feet when you’re inactive in cold seasons.
However, with frequent physical activity, you can significantly reduce the occurrence of feet freezing.
Do at least 30 minutes of indoor workouts daily, or start going to the gym- it’ll be easier to warm your feet when blood is flowing as needed.
8. Buy good quality heating pads
Under normal circumstances, heating pads are highly effective for leg warming purposes.
However, when you have diabetes, there’s a risk of getting burns, especially when your skin is not sensitive to extreme temperature changes.
This is the reason many medical professionals don’t recommend the use of these heating elements for diabetics.
However, if you’re dedicated to feet warming, you can use a microwave heating pad, but feel it with your arm or chest beforehand to confirm that the temperature is bearable.
If you’re unsure, you can ask a family member or friend to help you out.
Here are other tips you should strictly follow if you must use heating pads:
• Inspect your feet for cuts, abrasions or any other skin abnormalities. Only use a heating pad if your feet are free of these conditions.
• Preferably use it under close monitoring to reduce the incidences of burns
• Always check the heating pad and ensure that it’s all intact. Using a heating pad that’s even slightly off its pristine condition is very risky.
In this regard, buy your heating pad from a reputable brand and don’t settle for low cost at the expense of quality.
Additional feet care tips for diabetics
• Moisturize daily- To prevent skin from itching and cracking, patients with diabetes should moisturize their feet daily.
Since diabetics are more prone to fungal infections, applying moisturizer between toes is something to be avoided.
• Change socks when wet-Diabetics should change their socks when they become wet or damp and dry their feet immediately with a towel, focusing on the area between toes.
• Evaluate your feet for abnormalities- Check your feet for breaks, skin color changes, painful thick skin, etc.
Immediately reach out to your doctor to know if you’re suffering from cold feet and learn how to deal with it.
• Check your feet temperature regularly- During the cold season, you need to touch your feet and feel their temperature frequently-
It’s only then that you’ll know if they need additional warming.
• Soak your feet daily- With warm, clean water at your desired temperature, soak your feet to improve circulation and warm them up.
Foot warming for diabetics is crucial as it helps alleviate and manage foot conditions related to high blood sugar levels.
While it’s possible to go the electric device’s way to warm your feet, it’s always advisable to stick to apparels such as diabetes socks, compressions stockings, proper shoes, comfy sandals, etc.
In addition to these apparels, consider the feet care tips highlighted in this guide and get regular foot exams by a healthcare professional to identify and deal with any developing foot problem in time.