Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes has reached almost epidemic proportions in the USA, so most people are aware of things like insulin, blood sugar control, and watching what you eat. You may be less aware of complications from this disease, and how they can affect your foot health. We want to explain how crucial diabetic foot care is when dealing with the condition.

Diabetes and Your Feet

The reasons your feet become an issue with diabetes can be summed up in two words: circulation and neuropathy.

Poor circulation means foot and leg cramps, cold feet, and slow healing for sores. When plaque buildup in your arteries slows down the flow of blood, it is even harder to get enough nutrients and oxygen to your extremities—the parts of your body furthest from your heart. This can lead to deterioration in or damage to your feet.

Neuropathy means damage to the nerves, which can cause lack of sensation (numbness, feeling like toes or feet are asleep) or unpleasant tingling, burning or sharp pain. Sores can develop because you don’t have normal feeling in your feet. All that can make it hard to keep active, which is so important to your overall health. That is why a foot care plan is so important.

Ten Ways to Care for Diabetic Feet

  1. Keep strict control of your blood sugar levels. Monitoring glucose levels so they remain within limits can minimize damage to the nerves and other tissues in your feet.
  2. Keep your blood flowing. Getting some exercise every day, even just walking, helps avoid plaque buildup and promotes healthy cell function. If you have issues that make it unwise to put weight on your feet, you can increase aerobic fitness with bicycling or swimming.
  3. Keep an eye on your feet. Check them each day, especially if your sense of feeling is compromised, to make sure you catch any cuts, blisters, or sores early and treat them before they worsen. Use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet.
  4. Keep them clean. This means washing them with mild soap and warm water each day, and drying them completely.
  5. Keep nails trimmed. Diabetic feet are more susceptible to infections like fungal nails. You can lessen your risk by cutting and cleaning around your toenails regularly. If you have trouble seeing or reaching them, we will be glad to take care of them for you.
  6. Keep feet soft. A good lotion is your best friend, as long as it is used consistently (and not between your toes!). It will keep your skin supple and smooth and prevent dangerous dry skin problems like cracks and fissures.
  7. Keep them dry, too. It may seem like opposite advice, but while you want your skin soft, you don’t want it to remain too moist, which makes an attractive environment for bacteria and fungi. Powders, antiperspirants, moisture-wicking socks, and breathable shoes all help with this.
  8. Keep them covered. With diabetes, it is important to protect your feet at all times, even in your home. Socks and shoes are best, but even when you want to air feet out for a while, it is best to wear some kind of protection, like sandals, to protect against injury.
  9. Keep them safe from hot and cold temps. This means testing bath or shower water, wearing protection on hot pavement or beach sand, and using socks and shoes appropriate for the weather.
  10. Keep shoe choices sensible. You want to avoid pairs that pinch your toes or make you unstable, so choose those with enough room, low, broad heels, and correct arch support to give yourself a solid foundation. Watch for places of friction that could lead to blisters. In severe cases, Medicare may pay for special diabetic shoes that will help support and protect your feet.

Diabetic Foot Care Professionals in the South Bay Area

Far West Podiatric Medical Group provides in-office vascular testing to determine if your circulation is adequate, along with a whole array of foot care services for diabetic feet, including medical nail trimming and treatment of foot ulcers. Call our office in Hawthorne, CA at (310) 675-0900 to find out how our friendly, professional staff can keep your feet healthy, strong, and free of problems. If you prefer, you can message us online to request an appointment.

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