Get Answers to Your Questions About Foot and Ankle Care in Pennsylvania
When you have foot and ankle pain, you want answers to your concerns fast. Browse through our collection of answers to frequently asked questions. Our hope is that you will find the information you need to get relief for your foot and ankle pain in Pennsylvania.
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What is the proper way to care for my feet if I have diabetes?
Diabetes touches every area of your body, including your lower limbs. Elevated sugar levels damage your blood vessels, which in turn hurts the organs, nerves, and other tissues throughout your body. Your feet are one of the first places to feel the effect, and remain at high risk for sustaining serious complications as result.
A diabetic foot involves some degree of nerve damage and an increased risk of infection, so you need to take extra precautions to protect and clean your feet. Inspect your feet every day, and seek care as soon as possible if you do get a foot injury. A yearly check-up with your podiatrist here at Martin Foot and Ankle helps ensure you stay on track with your basic foot health, as well as look for any issues that you may not have noticed.
Most people can prevent a serious foot problem by following some simple steps:
- Be more active. Exercise regularly to help improve blood flow to your lower limbs.
- Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles several times a day. Don't cross your legs for long periods of time.
- Protect your feet from extreme hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don't put your feet in hot water without testing it first. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. It’s easy to burn your feet without realizing it.
- Wear shoes with sufficient padding and support.
- Don’t walk around barefoot. Use shoes or slippers to act as protection between you and objects that could cut or irritate your feet and lower limbs.
- Don’t smoke or consume too much alcohol. That can have a negative effect on your circulation that your body can’t afford.
Make sure you gently wash and dry your feet every day:
- Use warm - not hot - water to wash.
- Use a mild soap and pat the feet dry, rather than rubbing.
- Take the opportunity to check for problems you may not feel, like cuts, bruises, sores, lumps, bumps, distortions or discolorations in the skin or nails, or any other unusual changes.
- Use a mirror, or ask someone to help, to check the bottom of your feet, too.
When you care for your feet, you should always remember to:
- Clip your toenails straight across, so the edges are left intact.
- Use a lotion or ointment to keep your skin moist. Don’t apply lotion between toes.
If you do notice any changes, or you experience any discomfort in your lower limbs, contact Martin Foot and Ankle immediately. That way any problems that do arise can be addressed before they have a chance to get out of hand.
If you have diabetes, you need to be intentional and work with a health team - like you’ll find here at Martin Foot and Ankle - to monitor and manage your health and your foot-related symptoms. Visit our contact page or call us at (717) 757-3537 for more information or to schedule an appointment at our York, Hanover, Lititz and Lancaster podiatry offices.
Why won’t wounds on my feet heal?
There are several reasons an open wound or sore on your foot isn’t healing.
By far the most common underlying problem preventing a foot wound from healing is poor circulation. When blood flow to your feet is reduced, your tissues don’t get as much oxygen. Cell metabolism slows down, which reduces your body’s ability to close the wound and fight off infection.
Foot wounds are commonly associated with diabetes, since slow circulation is a very common diabetic complication. However, other risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, age, and even certain medications.
If a wound won’t heal, it’s important to get professional treatment immediately. Otherwise, you risk contracting an infection that could spread and ultimately require an amputation. To schedule your appointment with Martin Foot & Ankle, please call (717) 757-3537 today.
How important is my yearly diabetic foot exam?
Trust us: you don’t want to skip your yearly diabetic foot exam!
The biggest threats to long term foot health among those with diabetes are nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) and circulatory problems (peripheral arterial disease). Although the “immediate” cause of a diabetic ulcer might be a specific cut or injury, neuropathy and circulatory problems are what make small injuries so potentially devastating in the first place.
Neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease are tricky for a couple of reasons. First, they develop and progress slowly over time, and second, they are very difficult (if not impossible) to reverse. Treatment is focused mostly on managing symptoms and keeping them from getting worse. By the time you notice them, you can stop the ship, but it may be too late to fully change course.
Yearly diabetic exams allow us to test for neuropathy and circulatory problems to stop them in their tracks as early as possible, before they have a chance to severely impact your life. We can also help you correct contributing foot problems and manage risks by helping you with shoes, corns and calluses, foot pain, and other issues.
If it’s time—or past time—for your yearly diabetic foot exam, don’t wait any longer! Pick up the phone and connect with Martin Foot & Ankle today at (717) 757-3537.
How do I know if I have Charcot foot?
Symptoms of Charcot foot may not be obvious, because those who suffer from it have severe neuropathy. They may not be able to feel the changes happening in their feet. There are signs to watch for, however. You may notice redness and swelling, particularly around the arch. Your foot may feel warm to the touch. Depending on how severe the condition is, the foot may appear dislocated or deformed. You might develop foot ulcers underneath the arch or other places around the lower limbs, too. However, you may or may not notice soreness or other pain.
Since this is a risk for anyone with neuropathy—and particularly with nerve damage from diabetes—you have to inspect your feet regularly for the changes that may signal Charcot foot. Let the Martin Foot and Ankle team help you with your diabetic foot care. You can reach our York, Hanover, Lancaster and Lititz, PA offices by calling (717) 757-3537 or using our contact page.
Can diabetes hurt my feet?
Elevated or fluctuating glucose levels tend to dry out your skin and make it prone to cracks. This can leave you open to bacterial infections. Your feet are particularly vulnerable to this. Painful calluses can form on your feet as well. Since diabetes weakens your immune system, small problems like blisters can easily degenerate into ulcers. Another diabetic complication—neuropathy—often means you’re not able to feel damage to the skin on your feet, allowing injuries to develop and go untreated more easily.
You need to invest in diabetic skin care to help avoid serious complications in your lower limbs. Make sure you contact the foot doctors here at Martin Foot and Ankle right away if you notice any changes in your skin when you perform daily foot inspections. Catching a potential problem early is key for successful treatments. Call (717) 757-3537 or use our contact page to reach our York, Hanover, Lancaster and Lititz, PA offices.
How can diabetes hurt my feet?
Fluctuating sugar levels causes a variety of diabetic foot problems. Nerve damage impairs your ability to detect injuries and determine changes in temperature. You could easily step on a stone or tack, or burn your feet, and not notice the problem. Nerve damage itself is also painful, causing tingling or a pins-and-needles sensation throughout your lower limbs. Decreased circulation and an impaired immune system add complications. The body isn’t able to repair damage as quickly, allowing small injuries to degenerate into more serious ones like ulcers. Other uncomfortable problems like dry skin and calluses are common as well.
You’ll need to have your feet evaluated regularly to check for changes. Don’t wait until a problem strikes. Contact Martin Foot and Ankle for an appointment to take care of your feet and ankles. Call (717) 757-3537 to reach one of our offices in York, Hanover, Lancaster and Lititz, PA, or fill out an online contact form.