It’s that time of year again- when we throw caution to the wind and indulge in all the delicious foods and drinks we love, embracing the joy of the season while visiting family and friends.

However, for individuals with diabetes, this time of year can spell disaster in several ways. When you have diabetes, you’re far more prone to experience diabetic neuropathy, and numbness in the foot & extremeties that sometimes causes tingling, discomfort, and downright pain. Neuropathy occurs as a result of nerve damage, and in individuals with diabetes that nerve damage is often tied to the mismanagement of diabetes.

If you’re diabetic, there are some simple (though crucial) steps you can take to manage your diabetes and prevent the pain and discomfort of diabetic neuropathy. There are some important steps that you can take to help manage the pain and discomfort of neuropathy in your feet and lower legs. It is critical to avoid repetitive exercises when you are experiencing the symptoms of neuropathy as this will only continue to trigger the nerve’s response.

Key things to consider for foot health over the thanksgiving holiday include:

• Wear thick cotton socks and comfortable, properly fitted shoes. This helps you to avoid abrasions and pinched areas on your feet that can lead to ulceration or a chronic wound.

• Minimize repetitive exercise/motions when you’re already experiencing symptoms, as this will continue to trigger the nerve’s response. • Monitor your blood sugar and choose healthy foods. Spikes in blood sugar often occur right before diabetic neuropathy symptoms emerge- stay away from those tempting sweets! • Keep active. Walking is very low impact and a natural way to help reduce symptoms of diabetes. • Drink water instead of alcoholic beverages. Water, herbal teas or even a nice warm cup of hot apple cider is a better option and less likely to trigger neuropathic symptoms. • Sit with your feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing your legs. Crossing your legs or sitting with your legs tucked up under you will increase pressure on the nerves in your lower legs and through the feet and increase the likelihood that you will have neuropathic pain, tingling and discomfort.

Being aware of foot health issues and enjoying Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping is a great gift to give to yourself. Make sure you also check your feet regularly and see a podiatrist to treat any blisters, sores or areas of irritation as soon as they are noted.