If you have diabetes, your feet are going to need extra attention and care. Due to your diagnosis, your lower limbs are more susceptible to problems like reduced circulation, nerve damage, skin damage, and the development of wounds or ulcers that won’t heal and may get infected. The stakes are high—diabetes is, by far, the leading cause of non-traumatic amputations in America today. If you don’t take care of your feet now, the risk will only increase as you get older.
Fortunately, while the costs of complications are high, the risks are very manageable and preventable. Here are 5 things everyone with diabetes should do for their feet:
- Check them every day. You want to look for anything out of the ordinary, even if it seems minor to you. Cuts, blisters, corns, calluses, cracked and dry skin, redness, swelling, etc.—any of these could turn into an ulcer if you aren’t careful. If you notice a problem that isn’t healing, check in with us right away.
- Keep them clean, dry, and moisturized. Good hygiene can prevent dry, cracking skin and ward off fungal infections like athlete’s foot and fungal toenails. Choose comfortable (not too tight!) socks and shoes made from breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics.
- Protect them at all times, even at home. We strongly recommend socks and shoes throughout the day to shield sensitive feet against injuries. We may prescribe insoles, custom orthotics, and/or diabetic shoes if necessary.
- Manage your sugar carefully. Elevated sugar levels, over time, can lead to nervous and vascular system damage in your feet and ankles. Such damage affects sensation and immune response and makes a whole host of other complications (wounds, Charcot foot) much more likely.
- See your podiatrist at least yearly for a comprehensive diabetic foot checkup. We’ll examine you carefully to test your vascular, nerve, and skin health, identify any high-risk conditions, and provide any appropriate additional treatment to help you prevent future complications.
If you take good care of your feet, they’ll take good care of you! To schedule an appointment for your annual checkup, or to address any other concerns you may have, call Dr. Viedra Elison of the Fixing Feet Institute in Surprise, AZ at 623-584-5556.