If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, following a comprehensive foot care plan can help keep your feet and ankles as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Without these preventative measures, your chances of developing serious complications like ulcers, infections—and even the need for amputation—can significantly increase.
In many cases, diabetes causes nerve damage, robbing you of the ability to feel your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the legs and feet, which, in turn, makes it difficult for the body to resist infections and heal any potential injuries in those areas.
This is a dangerous combination. Lack of sensation in the feet (peripheral neuropathy) can prevent you from identifying threatening situations, like the development of blisters or wounds, and allow you to continue aggravating the injury. If your body is unable to heal the injury properly, an infection can set in and put you on a path toward partial—or even complete—limb amputation.
Don't let this happen to you. Instead, take steps to prevent these serious complications from taking hold and endangering your feet. Keep reading to find out how Advanced Foot Care can help you learn how to stride with confidence, despite diabetes.
Caring for Your Feet When You Have Diabetes
When diabetes gets thrown into the mix, taking care of your feet can be a bit tricky. Should you soak your feet? No, doing so can cause already-vulnerable skin to become too dry or too soft. Should you apply lotion? Well, yes, but you should always avoid the areas between the toes to prevent unsightly fungal infections from developing. Though diabetic foot care can seem complicated at first, the good news is that once you set a routine, taking good care of your feet will soon become second nature. Here's what you can do to help keep your feet healthy:
- Perform daily foot inspections. Check for cracks, sores, wounds, or any other concerning signs. Use a mirror or ask a friend or relative for assistance if you are unable to see or reach the bottoms of your feet.
- Wear the right shoes. Go for closed-toed shoes with deeper toe boxes, good arch support and cushioning, and space for toes to wiggle. Make sure they fit properly, with no pressure points or rubbing.
- Wear the right socks. Refrain from wearing socks with seams on the inside and always wear materials that are breathable, like cotton (or at least a cotton/synthetic blend). Avoid socks that are too constrictive.
- Never go barefoot. Make sure you protect your feet both outside and inside the house. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.
- Keep your feet dry. Thoroughly dry your feet after showering, paying special attention to the areas between the toes. Change your socks whenever they become sweaty or wet.
- Consider wearing orthotics. These versatile devices can provide the comfort and protection your feet need, minimizing the chance of developing blisters, calluses, and other sores.
- Check your shoes before putting them on. Simply turn the shoe upside-down and give it a little shake. A stray, hidden pebble or other tiny objects could cause more damage than you might think.
- Stay active (with caution). Staying active is important, but you should be mindful of the intensity of your exercises. Some people may need to avoid or limit high-impact activities that involve a lot of bouncing and jumping. Try walking, cycling, or swimming instead.
- Manage your diabetes. If you control your blood sugar, your feet will be healthier in the long-term. Check with your primary care physician for the best ways to keep those levels under control.
- Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking constricts blood vessels, causing poor blood circulation and emphasizing diabetic symptoms.
Last but certainly not least, you should check in with your podiatrist on a regular basis—once a year at a minimum. If you develop any concerning symptoms in your feet, ankles, or legs, seek professional help right away. Addressing problems before they become severe is key to avoiding serious complications.
Don't Wait for the Foot Care You Need and Deserve
Need a comprehensive diabetic foot care plan? Have any doubts or concerns about your foot health? At Advanced Foot Care, we can help. Our team of experts can create a foot care plan that is tailored to your specific lifestyle and provide treatment for any foot problem you may be experiencing—from simple corns, calluses, and deformed toenails to more serious wounds and infections. Simply give our office a call at (281) 292-7000 to schedule an appointment today. You can also take advantage of our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.