Diabetic Foot Care
For those with diabetes, regular foot care takes on an even higher level of importance. That’s because the disease can affect the feet in ways that pose serious threats to your overall health. A combination of poor circulation and nerve damage associated with diabetes can lead to unrecognized injuries that never heal, resulting in ulcers and dangerous infections that can lead to gangrene and even amputation. At Prairie Path Podiatry, we are here to help you put a diabetic foot care plan in place and provide you the prompt treatment you need if a problem does arise.
Noticing Nerve Damage
Neuropathy is a common companion of diabetes resulting from nerve damage that inhibits messages of pain to reach your brain. You may feel a burning or tingling sensation or nothing at all, meaning your foot simply becomes numb. In such a case, you may sustain an injury without even realizing it which can lead to an open wound (or ulcer), or the possibility of broken bones that begin to crumble without your knowledge— a condition known as Charcot foot that can be deforming and debilitating. So how do you protect your feet?
- Always wear shoes and socks and be sure that they fit well and do not rub or irritate your feet.
- Check shoes before putting them on to ensure there are no damaging foreign objects inside.
- Protect feet from heat and cold. Test bath water before you hop in to make sure it is not too hot. Apply sunscreen and wear protective footwear in cold temperatures.
- Keep feet and footwear clean and dry to ward off fungal infections.
- Carefully trim toenails straight across and not too short.
- Keep the skin on your feet moisturized to avoid painful cracks that could invite infection. Take care not to apply lotion between the toes.
- Never attempt to remove corns, calluses, warts or other skin issues on your own—an infection can occur and snowball into a dangerous complication.
Finally, make a foot exam part of your daily routine. We cannot stress this enough! By checking your feet every day, you will be able to notice any problems or changes so we can address them right away before the situation worsens. Look for blisters, scrapes, a feeling of warmth, discolored nails—anything out of the ordinary—and contact us immediately if you spot something unusual.
Boosting your Blood Flow
Your feet are the farthest from your heart, so your blood takes a while to get there. Add diabetes to the mix and poor circulation can make for some serious problems. Wounds occurring without notice because of neuropathy will have difficulty receiving the healing nutrients they need and the longer they take to heal, the more risk there is of a dangerous infection that can lead to significant consequences. To counteract this, you need to get your blood flowing and the best way to do that is through regular exercise. Talk to us about developing a safe exercise routine that best suits your lifestyle. Other things you can do to improve circulation include avoid being on your feet for long periods of time, take breaks and elevate your feet and enjoying a nice foot massage!
Lifestyle Changes That Go a Long Way
While it’s important to manage nerve damage and poor circulation, it’s obviously essential to manage your disease, too! Be sure to keep blood sugar levels in line, eat a healthy diet and as we mentioned above, exercise regularly. Stay clear of smoking and limit your alcohol intake. Remember, we are here if you need us to provide all that encompasses a proper diabetic foot care plan.
Call for assistance or to make an appointment (which by the way, regularly scheduled appointments are another vital ingredient to staying healthy while living with diabetes)! You can reach our Geneva, IL office by dialing (630) 845-3338 or by using our convenient online contact form.