If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, there is no doubt already some things you’ve been asked to pay more attention to for your benefit. Your foot care should absolutely be part of that list.
We understand that it may feel overwhelming at times to keep track of so many different matters, and that foot care can feel like one of those things you’ll be OK to put off – especially if your feet are feeling perfectly fine right now.
But the effects of diabetes on your feet can slowly creep in overtime, and you don’t want to wait for your foot health to turn bad before you do something about it. A proactive approach to diabetic foot care can have a great impact on preventing or mitigating complications in the future – helping you stay more comfort and mobile in the years to come.
What Does Diabetes Do to Your Feet?
The effects of diabetes can negatively affect many areas of your body, but your feet tend to be in a particularly vulnerable position.
First, your feet are already at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to receiving excellent blood flow, simply by being the farthest part of you from your heart. It takes more effort for the cells in your feet to receive the nutrients and growth factors they need to function and repair themselves. Any impediment to your circulation, which comes often with diabetes, tends to start affecting your feet first.
Second, diabetes can harm the nerves in your feet. Such damage (also known as peripheral neuropathy) can occur directly from diabetic complications over time, and as a result of poor circulation. As the nerves become more severely damaged, it can result in pain, tingling, and other uncomfortable sensations. Eventually, should nerves begin to die, your sense of touch in your feet can diminish and even leave them fully numb.
The above factors, working in tandem, can have catastrophic effects on your feet over time.
If your feet are not receiving proper blood flow, they are not as capable of healing from injuries as quickly. In some severe cases, healing can’t happen without medical intervention. Combine that with an inability to feel when damage has occurred to your feet, and even minor nicks and cuts have an opportunity to develop into deep wounds and ulcers as a patient continues to unknowingly walk on them.
Without proper care and attention, feet at this stage can break down structurally and become seriously infected. In some cases, amputation may be required – and we never want to see a patient reach that point if it can be helped.
What Can You Do for Your Feet Now?
We know the situation above might sound extreme, and we aren’t here to try to scare you with it. But the truth is, it can and does happen if risks are left unchecked.
It may still seem very far away if your feet currently feel fine, but the big problem is that the complications of diabetes can take hold very slowly. You will likely never wake up one day suddenly unable to feel when you step on things. Rather, sensation may diminish so slowly that you won’t realize for some time that it has changed – much like the proverbial frog in a pot as the heat is turned up.
That is why we and many other podiatrists recommend starting diabetic foot care routines now. You can take steps to reduce your risks before the complications of diabetes have the chance to sneak up on you.
And here’s the good news: Starting to take care of your feet with diabetes is not difficult! Here are the essentials to start:
Inspect Your Feet Every Day
Just a few moments to look and feel over your feet each day can help you detect cuts, sores, and any other abnormalities that shouldn’t be there.
Pick a time that’s routine and convenient for you, such as before hopping into bed, or before or after you take a shower. If you find anything that doesn’t improve after a few days or starts to look worse, give us a call. We will gladly offer you advice on what to do next, or recommend you come in for a closer look.
Once again, even if your feet feel fine now, starting inspections now is a great way to build a healthy habit for when you may need it in the future.
Keep Your Feet in Supportive Footwear
Shoes that do not fit properly, are too tight, and fail to support your arches and feet well can contribute to added problems down the road. Always make sure your footwear is up to the task before investing the money and time into them.
Additionally, greatly limit your time in footwear such as high-heels or flip-flops. Prolonged time in such shoes are bad for any type of feet and may end up especially damaging to diabetic feet.
Schedule Checkups at Fixing Feet Institute
There is so much you can do on your own to monitor and safeguard your feet, but having a professional in your corner is still a great asset.
We can help you monitor your foot health over time, keeping track of changes and addressing any areas of concern that can be easy to overlook. When necessary, we can make recommendations for changes and treatments that help keep your feet healthier and slow down the progression of diabetes’s effects.
Choose to Start Your Diabetic Foot Care Now
As experts in diabetic foot care and nerve treatment, Fixing Feet Institute has helped diabetic patients at all stages find relief from problems, prevent conditions from happening, and save their feet from amputation. Wherever you currently stand on your journey, we’ll be happy to help you as well.
Schedule an appointment with us by calling (623) 584-5556 or by filling out our online contact form.