Diabetic Foot Care
In America, more and more people are living with Diabetes. This increase in the diabetic population means that it is more important than ever to know how to best manage the disease. Our podiatrists, Dr. Engel & Dr. Nute, can help you to prevent serious complications and help you to recognize what risk factors you may have for your lower limbs.
Diabetes And The Feet
Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and it can pose a real risk to your feet and lower limbs. Diabetes means the body is unable to produce enough insulin, which is the hormone that is responsible for managing the glucose levels in your blood. This then leads to an increased risk of other health problems like kidney failure, heart disease, blindness, and loss of limbs.
Diabetes can also dull the nerves and impair your blood circulation, especially in the feet. The feet are most at risk as they are the body’s furthest point from the head and the heart. Increased numbness can mean that it is more difficult to detect scrapes, cuts, and other injuries. Diabetes can also affect your ability to effectively heal your own body and fight off infection. If you don’t notice or don’t treat even minor injuries, they can become more significant problems like ulcers. It is essential to treat foot ulcers caused by Diabetes as soon as possible. If you leave these ulcers untreated, they could eventually lead to the whole limb needing to be amputated.
At Home Care
To properly care for your feet, you need to give them proper attention yourself at home, to help you catch any potential issues before they become bigger problems. Your doctor can, of course, help you to spot issues, but you know your feet best and will spot issues sooner. If you catch a problem early, you can seek help more promptly and reduce the risk of more serious medical complications.
To catch issues as early as possible, perform a daily assessment of your feet and toes. If you can’t inspect the bottom of your feet easily, use a mirror or ask a loved one to help. If you spot any scrapes, cuts, or other skin and nail issues, contact our office. Swelling, redness, and warmth are potential signs of infection, so see your doctor if you notice these. It is always better to go early for treatment and avoid the risk of diabetic ulcers.
Protecting Your Feet
The best way to prevent problems is to protect your feet. Protect your feet and keep them safe by wearing comfortable, supportive footwear that fits you correctly. Always check inside your shoes before you put them on. Anything inside the shoe, like stones, can damage the skin, leaving an opening for infection. Shoes do protect your feet, but a shoe that doesn’t fit well can cause blisters, corns, sores, and other issues, so make sure yours fit well.
Keep your feet clean and dry as much as possible to reduce the infection risk. Wash your feet gently in warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly, including between the toes. Use a moisturizer that has been developed especially for the relief of diabetic dry skin to reduce the risk of dryness, cracks, and fissures, but don’t use it between the toes.
When you are trimming your toenails, be careful. Clip them straight across every time rather than rounding them, and don’t clip them too short. Clipping them this way reduces the risk of developing an ingrown toenail, which can then become infected or lead to other fungal toenail problems.
Managing Your Condition
Take care of yourself and manage your Diabetes to keep your circulation strong and your nerves healthy to protect your feet from other problems. Monitor your glucose levels closely, try to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, give up smoking, and drink alcohol in moderation. Getting regular exercise is also essential for taking proper care of your body.
Caring for your feet yourself is important but a podiatrist can also help to evaluate your feet, recommend the best footwear to protect your feet, and give you a helpful exercise routine to stretch out your lower limbs and keep them flexible.
Our doctors can offer a full range of diabetic foot care services, including diabetic toenail care, annual check-ups for your feet, wound care, removal of calluses and corn, custom orthotics, and many other kinds of care. We can help with everything from helping you to select the right pair of diabetic shoes, to the debridement of ulcers. Call us to find out how we can help you.