7 Tips For Diabetic Foot Care
For our diabetic patients, we recommend a close relationship with their feet. Self-foot checks should become an every-day routine as well as regular podiatric checkups. At Westfield Foot and Ankle, we’ve seen firsthand the complications that can arise in a diabetic patient’s feet. For instance, a cut or scrape on the foot might seem harmless to someone without diabetes, but for our diabetic patients, it can spell big trouble! Left unnoticed and untreated, that blemish could turn into an ulcer, which could ultimately lead to hospitalization or amputation. Thankfully, situations like this are typically preventable.
Following the tips below and regularly scheduling visits to see us at the office will help minimize your risk of diabetic foot complications:
- Check your feet daily. Ulcers often start on the sole of your feet, out of everyday sight so it’s important to check down there – get a mirror if you need to. Check between your toes, along your soles, your heels, and the outside edges of your feet for any cuts, blisters, bruises, or punctures. These abrasions can quickly turn into problematic ulcers if left untreated.
- Check your nerves. Diabetic patients often lose feeling in their extremities due to nerve damage that comes with the disease. Take a blunt object, like a pencil eraser, and run it along the entire bottom of your foot to make sure you still have feeling. If you notice you’re losing any feeling, give us a call.
- Wash and dry your feet well. Clean, dry feet are much less likely to develop ulcers. Use warm water, not too hot, and mild soap to wash your feet every day. When you are done, use a soft towel to dry your feet – don’t forget between the toes!
- Cut your toenails properly. You should always trim your toenail straight across, never rounded or curved, and never too short. Curved edges can cut into your skin and cause ingrown toenails, which can quickly become infected and problematic.
- Eat right for your feet. Talk to your doctor about a proper diet for your condition and follow that diet well. It’s also important to check your glucose levels as needed.
- Wear the right shoes. New shoes can cause a world of hurt if they don’t fit! Ones that are too tight can squeeze and ones that are too loose can rub. When you buy new shoes, do so at the end of the day, when your feet are their largest. Always test the shoe out in the store before buying it.
- Cut back on bad habits. Smoking and drinking alcohol can exacerbate issues with your nervous system that might come with diabetes. Constricted blood vessels from smoking or accelerated nerve damage from drinking can lead to more rapid infections in a cut or wound.
If you have diabetes, a good relationship with your feet is absolutely key. Maintaining a good relationship with your podiatrist is also best practice. At Westfield Food and Ankle, Dr. David R. Sullivan can ensure you are taking the right steps toward healthy feet for life. To make an appointment today, call our conveniently located clinic in Westfield at 317-896-6655.