Diabetics are more prone to various foot problems than those without diabetes. Diabetics can get hit with a double whammy. They can develop circulatory problems that can interfere with the ability to heal, and nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy, which can reduce the ability to feel. Diabetic neuropathy often affects both upper and lower limbs. Poor circulation coupled with diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious health complications of the legs and feet.
Diabetic neuropathy can cause pain – which may be treatable, but it often causes the loss of sensation in your feet, making it difficult to detect extreme temperatures and or pain readily. As a result, you could sustain a cut, burn or wound and not even notice your foot is injured until an infection begins. Many diabetic foot problems can be prevented in some measure with improved blood sugar control and a strengthened immune system.
The best way to protect against diabetic foot complications is to be proactive rather than reactive. If you are among one of the millions of people in the United States with diabetes, it is important to visit your podiatrist for regular foot examinations in order to maintain healthy feet and a strong body.
Examine your Feet Daily
Careful daily inspection of your feet is one of the easiest, least expensive and most effective measures for preventing foot complications. Look for puncture wounds, bruises, redness, blisters, ulcers (breaks in the skin), cuts, and/or scratches. Examine the bottoms of your feet and toes
Annual examinations by your podiatrist are also vital for anyone with diabetes. A podiatrist can provide a more thorough exam and detect any signs of changes, such as broken skin or ulcers that can be detrimental to the health of your feet and body. Your podiatrist can also check for areas of high pressure or loss of blood circulation.
Clean Your Feet
With diabetes, it is important to keep your feet clean. Wash your feet daily with warm water and mild soap. After washing, make sure you dry your feet thoroughly, especially in-between the toes. You may also apply non-irritating moisturizer to prevent cracks and to keep your feet smooth, but avoid applying cream between the toes.
Be sure to also avoid ingrown toenails, which can get infected, by keeping them trimmed neatly. If you are unable to cut your toenails safely, ask your podiatrist for professional assistance. And never attempt to cut your own bunions or corns as this can lead to infection, as well. Instead, remember to visit your podiatrist for safe and pain free removal.
OTHER HELPFUL HINTS:
- Avoid smoking, as it reduces blood flow to your feet
- Buy comfortable shoes that are not too tight or too loose, we can determine if you need special diabetic shoes
- Wear clean, dry socks and change them everyday
- Never walk barefoot in order to protect your feet from harmful objects
Diabetes is serious, especially when your feet are involved. Early detection and simple care are just a few things that can be done to control and prevent complications as they arise.
As your podiatrist I play a critical role in the prevention and management of complications of the foot in diabetics. If we haven’t discussed it already, call today to see what you can do now to keep your feet safe, strong, and healthy.