When you’re a diabetic, there are many things you consider on a daily basis. Checking glucose levels, monitoring food intake, exercise— all of these activities become part of your daily routine. Often overlooked, caring for your feet is also incredibly important and should be given special attention.
Why Diabetic Foot Care is Important
As a diabetic, you have higher than normal sugar levels in your body, which over time damages blood vessels and nerves. This can cause many complications, one of which is neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can present symptoms such as numbness and tingling. This often occurs in the feet and can be dangerous when ignored. Blisters, cracked skin, even broken bones can feel less painful to someone with diabetic neuropathy. It is important to ensure that your feet are monitored for any changes or damage and brought to the attention of your doctor.
Another complication from increased blood sugar levels is a compromised immune systems, causing diabetics to suffer from infection at a 47% higher rate than non-diabetics. Even seemingly small, common foot injuries such as cuts, blisters and ingrown toenails can become infected when left untreated. While rare, it is possible for sores or cuts that become infected this way to develop gangrene, which can lead to amputation. If you notice any problems with diabetes and your feet, it is crucial to take action immediately. Without a regular diabetic foot care routine in place, these issues can start small but have bigger repercussions in the long run.
5 Ways to Proactively Keep Feet Healthy
Thankfully, by adding a foot care routine to your diabetic lifestyle it’s easy to manage any potential issues. By practicing these five simple steps you can reduce your risk of developing harmful foot injuries.
1. Monitor feet for injuries daily
When you remove your shoes at the end of the day or before bed, take a few minutes to give each foot a once-over. If you can’t reach your feet, have a care giver check them for you. Finding minor nicks or blisters you may not have noticed will help you take action sooner and reduce the risk of complications later.
2. Trim toenails properly
Toenails can be an unexpected source of foot injury. When not cared for properly, it’s easy to develop ingrown nails that can cause problems over time. You can help prevent this by trimming your nails regularly. Toenails should always be cut straight across. The corners and edges can be softened with an emery board or nail file.
3. Keep feet protected
The best way to avoid injury is to protect against it. Something as simple as avoiding shoes worn without socks can go a long way to keep your feet healthy and safe. Special diabetic socks made with seamless, wicking fabric can help keep your feet dry and injury-free.
4. Prioritize good shoes
A good shoe is the first step towards healthy feet. Make sure the shoes you wear are supportive and comfortable, and do not cause issues with rubbing or blistering. When shoes have begun to wear down, get a new pair to ensure you have good support. Happy feet come from happy shoes! Please visit therightshoe.net to see the styles and options Martin Foot and Ankle has available.
5. Schedule a diabetic foot care exam with your podiatrist
Above all else, scheduling a regular appointment with your podiatrist as part of your diabetic lifestyle will help keep your feet in top shape. Not only does this ensure that your feet are being checked, it also gives you a chance to ask questions or express concerns you may be having in regard to your feet.
There are many things that require close attention when living with diabetes. When it comes to your feet, keep an eye on them for any concerns and you’ll lessen the chance of problems down the road. Your podiatrist can help you create a diabetic foot care routine and a make sure that your feet stay fit. Let our podiatry team at Martin Foot and Ankle in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz, York and West York know if you need more information about diabetic foot care. Call any of our offices at (717) 757-3537 or (844) 899-6961 or use our website contact form to schedule a same day appointment.