If you’ve ever played dodge ball, you know that the key to winning is to avoid being hit by the ball. You can actually make a similar comparison to diabetes: the key to living successfully with the disease requires avoiding the complications it can throw at you. Of course, diabetes is far from fun and games, but in-depth and regular diabetic foot care helps you “dodge and deflect” those potentially serious problems.
Why Foot Care Matters: Diabetic Effects on the Feet
Diabetic foot care is as important as it gets. Because diabetes is associated with a reduction in blood flow, as well as painful nerve damage called neuropathy, your feet are especially susceptible to problems like cuts, small sores, and internal injuries to bones and soft tissues. Corns, calluses, dry and cracking skin, nail distortion, warts and fungal infections are more common, and pose potentially more problems. The disease weakens your foot structures, too, possibly contributing to bunions, hammertoes, claw toes, and other painful conditions. What’s more, poor circulation slows your body’s ability to heal and a loss of sensation means you may have a complete lack of awareness that an injury has occurred.
Those two together are an especially dangerous combination, since they can allow otherwise small problems to evolve into serious complications. Skin problems can become ulcers, injuries can become Charcot foot, and infections can become life-threatening. Worse, the longer a wound goes untreated, the more likely it is to get infected and involve serious consequences, including amputation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid those dangers.
Inspect to Prevent Complications
Catching problems early can make a world of difference. To do so, examine your feet every day. Check for blisters, calluses, corns, scratches, cuts, sores, and dry, cracked skin. Also, pay attention to any signs of color or temperature change. If you can’t see all of your foot, use a hand-held mirror, or ask a loved one to take a look. You should have regularly scheduled visits to Carolina Podiatry Group, but if you find anything unusual with your feet between visits, call right away. We get you in as soon as possible.
Daily Foot Care Habits
The best way to prevent a small problem from becoming a larger issue is to make foot care a daily habit. Keep your feet clean by washing with mild soap and water and patting them dry with a towel. Apply lotion to keep skin from cracking, but don’t moisturize between your toes where fungi can find you. Make sure you trim your toenails straight across and to the length of your toe—no shorter, no longer. File away rough edges and never cut your cuticles. Even minor injuries can turn major before you know it!
With diabetes, you avoid problems by managing the disease and wearing proper shoes. Help protect yourself against diabetic foot complications by maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, and exercising daily. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely. Don’t smoke, either, as it only worsens poor circulation, and you don’t need any additional problems!
Remember, socks and shoes are your friends. They protect your feet from injury. Be sure that footwear fits well and does not create any friction against your skin. You should be able to wiggle your toes some, but the heel should not slip. Check shoes for any foreign objects before you put them on. Lastly, make sure that they are made of breathable materials.
Don’t “Throw in the Towel!”
You can live a full and active life regardless of having diabetes if you make the effort to control the disease and protect yourself from diabetic complications. Let our winning team at Carolina Podiatry Group, Inc. help. Brandon Percival, DPM, Julie Percival, DPM, and William Harris IV, DPM, are experts in treating diabetic feet. Give us a call at (803) 548-FEET in Fort Mill, SC. You can also reach our Lancaster location at (803) 285-1411. Additionally, appointments can be requested at any time online.
Photo Credit: Hans via Pixabay.com