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Should Diabetics Soak Their Feet?
Diabetes can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to foot sores and infections.
Nerve damage can cause a loss of feeling in the feet, and cuts and blisters may become unnoticed until they spread.
There is some discussion of the benefits of soaking your feet to prevent infections, but it is not an effective preventative measure and can actually worsen symptoms.
Tired, Aching Feet vs Diabetic Feet
Foot-soaking is traditionally used to soothe tired and aching feet. Putting your feet in a warm, salty bath can relieve pain and improve blood circulation, but does it help prevent diabetic foot infections? Unfortunately, soaking diabetic feet can increase pain and exacerbate inflammation.
Unlike tired and aching feet, diabetic foot problems are chronic and cannot be cured by a soak. Soaking is only appropriate for short-term pain relief, not as a treatment for chronic illness. Diabetic feet often have infections or inflammation that needs proper medical treatment.
In addition, soaking dries out feet. While they soften in the water, feet become dry and cracked once removed. Once the water evaporates, the skin is left drier than before. This is especially true if the water has bath salts or herbs in it. Diabetics tend to have drier feet than non-diabetics in the first place, so excessive drying from a soak can increase cracks and pain. Also, warm water can increase inflammation.
Unless you are experiencing short-term pain from excessive exercise or an injury, soaking will only make problems worse. A much better treatment for painful feet is moisturizing with a lotion or ointment.
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