Diabetes affects your life in a range of ways, some of them more surprising than others. A lot of people live with diabetes for a while before they learn that they should be giving special attention to their feet, for example.
The issue is that diabetes-related foot problems can creep up unnoticed, then cause serious issues. To help you give your feet the attention they need to prevent the biggest diabetic foot problems, Christopher Vittori, DPM, and Ameet Thakrar, DPM, built this guide. We also offer dedicated diabetic foot care at our Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist offices in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois.
Don’t let your feet become a problem for you. Here’s what you need to know to avoid the most common issues that stem from diabetes.
Diabetes at your feet
The high glucose levels in your blood can damage your nerves, especially the nerves in your feet. That means lessened sensitivity.
That might seem like good news. Less pain with blisters seems pretty positive, right? The issue, though, is that a lot of people don’t compensate for the reduced sensitivity. You get used to your body signaling you when something is wrong, and you expect that it will do the same for your feet.
Diabetes-related nerve damage can mean you don’t feel scrapes, blisters, and other openings in your skin when they happen. Because diabetes also affects circulation in your feet, these wounds are slower to heal and more susceptible to infection.
If you’ve heard horror stories about people with diabetes getting their feet amputated, it probably started with a situation like this. A diabetic ulcer on the foot gets infected but goes unnoticed. By the time the person sees that something is wrong with their foot, the situation is already dire.
Fortunately, you can prevent something like this from happening to you by making foot care a part of your regular routine.
At-home foot checks
Make it a point to check your feet on a daily basis. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Find a time that works for you — maybe while you’re brushing your teeth or right after you take your shoes off after work. Give your feet a visual scan, looking for any broken skin, redness, or swelling.
If you notice anything concerning, plan your shoes accordingly. Pick a pair that won’t rub the area and make sure you’re choosing footwear that will allow you to keep your feet clean and dry. Continue monitoring the area. If it doesn’t get better in a few days, make an appointment with us.
To further reduce your risk of diabetic foot problems, the American Diabetes Association® also recommends:
- Keeping your toenails trimmed straight across
- Washing your feet each day and drying them thoroughly afterward
- Wearing shoes that don’t rub or pinch your feet
- Checking your shoes for small rocks before you put them on
- Choosing moisture-wicking socks
- Avoiding walking barefoot
- Moisturizing your feet
By keeping your feet clean and cared for, choosing good shoes, and regularly scanning your feet for any signs of an issue, you make significant strides toward keeping your feet healthy.
Getting the right medical care
While daily home care matters, it shouldn’t be your only line of defense against diabetes-related foot problems. Our Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist team can treat anything concerning you find in your home checks, plus we can periodically evaluate your feet to catch any potential problems early.
Regular exams from a diabetic foot care specialist ensure that you employ the best options for preventing serious issues at the right time. Our team can check for problems like circulation loss or high blood pressure and, if detected, help you find the best treatment.
To schedule an exam for your feet, call Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist or schedule an appointment online today.