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Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot CareWhy is it important to take care of my blood sugars?

High blood sugar levels over time can damage many organs in the human body, including nerves, blood vessels and skin. Diabetics also tend to have lower immune systems.

Why is it important to take care of my feet as a diabetic?

Diabetics may have significantly worse circulation in their feet, as well as loss of sensation due to the nerve damage. The immune system is lower causing poor circulation and therefore the skin is affected. Sores may take much longer to heal and may even become infected easily. These infections may even lead to amputation of toes, a portion of the foot or even the leg.

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

This is damage to the nerves that is secondary to diabetes and it can result in muscle weakness, deformities, loss of sensation to feet, burning pain or tingling. Speak with your doctor if you are having any of these symptoms as there are medications that may be able to alleviate some of the discomfort.

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral Arterial Disease is damage to your arterial circulation. Diabetes is a risk factor for this condition, as is use of tobacco.

How can I take care of my feet?

  • Most importantly, monitor your feet every day for any changes, such as in skin color or temperature. Look on the top of foot, bottom of foot and between your toes. If you are having difficulty seeing the bottom of your foot, use a mirror or family member.
  • Apply lotion to your feet every day, but never put it between your toes. Do not use any lotions with irritants, such as perfumes.
  • Never walk barefoot or wear shoes without socks. If you have difficulty wearing socks due to swelling, many pharmacies carry socks designed for diabetics.
  • Keep your nails well-maintained, but do not cut them too short. If you get an ingrown toenail get it treated immediately.
  • Get regular exercise with appropriate shoe gear, but always check your feet for any blisters immediately after the activity. Exercise does help with your circulation.
  • If you have neuropathy or vascular disease, do not self-treat calluses or corns. It is important that you see a podiatrist for treatment. Do not use any over the counter wart or callus remover.

When do I need to seek medical attention?

Contact your physician if you have any of the following in your feet:

  • Persistent pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Redness or swelling
  • A sore, especially if there is redness and drainage, such as pus or odor
  • Ingrown toenail
  • Blisters
  • Pain in calf or buttock when walking
  • Puncture wounds or bites

What type of footwear should I be using?

  • Do not wear non-protective shoe gear such as “flip-flops” or sandals.
  • Always use socks with your shoes.
  • Do not use poorly fitting shoes
  • Always break in new shoes slowly
  • If you have diabetic neuropathy or vascular disease, you may be a candidate for custom diabetic shoes. If this is the case, you will be referred to a pedorthist. Often insurances will cover the cost of these shoes.