While diabetic orthotics can alleviate and prevent various foot problems associated with diabetes, these devices can sometimes cause other problems to occur. One of those problems is skin breakdown, which can lead to the development of rashes, ulcers, and other skin conditions that may result in serious health issues and even amputation. Here are a couple of suggestions for protecting your skin and preventing these problems.
Manage Sweat and Moisture
A common cause of skin breakdown is excess moisture. The skin requires some water to remain pliable and healthy, but too much can cause a couple of complications to develop. First, bacteria and fungi love warm moist areas, and you may develop fungal infections or skin rashes in sweaty areas covered by the orthotic device. Second, the excess moisture makes the skin slippery, which can cause the orthotic device to rub against skin, causing friction injuries.
Therefore, it's important to keep the skin that touches your orthotic device as dry as possible. This may involve wearing clothing that helps wick away sweat and moisture—such as athletic socks made from polyester, nylon, or wool—and change them on a regular basis as the clothing becomes saturated.
Removing the orthotic device at various intervals and manually cleaning the skin can also be helpful. Depending on the type of orthotic device you have, using a powder that absorbs moisture or an antiperspirant that prevents it may also be beneficial.
It's also a good idea to talk to the orthotic specialist about adding supplementary materials or making modifications to your device to help manage excess moisture. For instance, the specialist may be able to add holes to the device to encourage better air circulation, which can minimize sweating where the device makes contact.
Pressure is another problem that can contribute to skin breakdown. This is primarily a concern in areas where the orthotic device presses against bony structures in the body, as this damages the skin squeezed between them. This issue can be a little challenging to address, especially if some pressure is needed to enhance the effectiveness of the orthotic device.
However, taking a break and removing the orthotic device every so often can give the skin a chance to recover. It's a good idea to also lightly massage the area to promote blood circulation. If you're wearing orthotic shoes to treat problems with your feet, take a break from standing every couple of hours and elevate your feet for about 20 minutes. This encourages stale blood to circulate out of the legs and delivers fresh healing blood to the feet that can help strengthen the skin in the area.
For more tips on preventing skin breakdown when using orthotic devices, contact custom orthotic services in your area.
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