Updated: Jul 30, 2020
April is Stress Awareness Month, and few things are more stressful than living with a life-long disease like diabetes. Diabetes completely changes your whole body’s health, including your lower limbs. Taking care of your feet becomes a huge priority to avoid developing diabetic foot problems. However—and this is often where the stress comes in—sometimes people do develop complications like neuropathy. This condition can make it challenging for you to stay active and exercise safely, but the good news is that it is possible!
Nerve damage from neuropathy makes it much easier for you to develop problems, including foot ulcers. Small blisters, tiny cuts, even calluses can all deteriorate into something much worse with just a little too much pressure. This, naturally, makes being active without injuring your feet a bit difficult at times.
Giving up exercise and sports isn’t the best way to protect your lower limbs, though. In fact, the right kind of exercise provides a lot of benefits for your diabetic feet, despite neuropathy. It improves circulation, strengthens muscles, and helps control weight—all positive effects for managing the disease.
Here are a few ways you can stay active and safe when you have a diabetic foot issues:
Stick to low-impact – Biking, swimming, water aerobics, and other low-impact sports improve circulation and can help with weight loss, without forcing your vulnerable feet to absorb damaging pressure and shock.
Build up strength – Do balance and strengthening exercises that will keep your feet strong. Toe-taps, ankle circles, heel raises, and balancing on one foot are all good options.
Wear the right shoes – Always exercise in supportive, cushioned shoes that help protect your feet from pressure and friction.
Improve flexibility – Stretch your feet and lower legs to keep tissues like your Achilles tendon from getting too tight and causing trouble.
Remember to clean your feet and check them for changes after you’re done exercising every day. That way you can catch any problems that might have developed before they really start. Don’t stress about being active—relax! Done safely, the benefits are worthwhile. Our staff at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC can help you establish a diabetic foot-safe exercise routine. Just call (504) 708-4810 or use our website to make an appointment with us.