Diabetic Foot Care
A diagnosis of diabetes can be life-changing. It often involves adopting a new diet, a new lifestyle, and a new mindset when it comes to approaching many things. One of these changes should be the way you treat your feet. The consequences of diabetes on the lower limbs can be dire, and the best way to fight back is with proactive, preventative care.
The Need for Diabetic Foot Care
Why is there such a focus on feet when it comes to diabetes? According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 70,000 lower-limb amputations had to be performed on diabetics 20 years or older in 2010. That accounted for about 60 percent of amputations that were not trauma-related.
There are two effects of the disease that can result in serious problems if left unchecked. First is a gradual loss of sensation in the feet due to neuropathy, or nerve damage. Second, circulation can become reduced, meaning less blood flow to the feet.
Combined, these factors can create a dangerous situation. Some with neuropathy are unable to sense when a sore or cut has developed on the foot. Add poor circulation and that wound may be slow to heal or not heal on its own at all. Remaining unnoticed, the wound can grow worse, turning into an ulcer or becoming seriously infected. That’s how a toe, foot, or even leg can be lost.
Care Begins at Home
The key of good diabetic foot care is finding and addressing small problems early to prevent them from turning monstrous. That’s where developing a habit of daily inspection comes in.
The best thing you can do for your feet if you have diabetes is to check every day for cuts, sores, changes in color, and other abnormalities. Establish a time for yourself to do this and make it part of your daily routine. It could be while drying off from a shower, or after coming home from work. If you can’t easily view the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask a loved one to help you.
If you see a wound or anything else out of the ordinary that doesn’t clear up in a few days, it’s time to give us a call here at Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper. It’s also important to have your feet checked professionally at least once per year.
Other good diabetic foot care tips include keeping your feet moisturized (but avoid getting lotion between your toes, as this can promote a fungal infection) and avoiding going barefoot whenever possible.
General diabetes management is also going to have a positive effect on your foot health. Get moving more, stop smoking, and keep your blood sugar regulated. We can help you find the best exercises and equipment that can keep you active without risking damage to your feet. We can also assist with toenail trimming and corn/callus management, if needed.
Diabetes can be life-changing, but it doesn’t have to be life-ruining. Dr. Timothy Barry and our friendly staff are in your corner to help you take care of foot concerns and help you enjoy life to the fullest. Call our office at (812) 481-7200 to schedule an appointment today.