04 May Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetic Foot Care: Do’s and Don’ts
People with diabetes need to take special care of their feet. According to the American Diabetes Association, foot problems are the reason that one in five people with diabetes end up in the hospital. A regular care routine can keep minor problems from becoming major ones.
- Dry skin: use petroleum jelly or lotion after bathing
- Calluses: use a pumice stone after bathing and follow with lotion
- Changes in foot shape: ask your doctor about inserts that can keep your shoes fitting properly
Diabetes is often accompanied by poor blood circulation. This can make healing of any cuts or infections slow down or even stop. The best way to improve blood circulation is to get regular exercise.
One of the most frequent and most serious complications of diabetes is neuropathy, or loss of feeling in the toes. Neuropathy is dangerous because you may not notice when your feet have cuts, scratches or blisters. Left untreated, those unhealed sores can lead to diabetic foot ulcer.
In the worst case scenario, the infection caused by the ulcer can’t be controlled and the only option is amputation. People with diabetes are more likely to require amputation of a limb than people with any other illness.
The good news is that amputation has become much less frequent as patients and their doctors have focused on preventive care.
Diabetic Foot Care
- Wash and dry your feet daily
- When you do, inspect them for any cuts or blisters
- Wear good quality, well-fitting shoes
- Get daily exercise to improve blood flow
- Wear protective socks or an orthotic insert to cushion feet
- Don’t walk barefoot
- If you smoke, quit
- Have regular foot exams
The Centers for Disease Control recommends a full foot examination four times a year if you have diabetes. To make it easier for his patients to follow that guideline, Dr. Shuman now provides in home visits.
Don’t Take Chances
Foot care is not just a way to keep your feet looking and feeling good. If you have diabetes it could mean the difference between leading a full life and dealing with disfiguring complications.
Chances of these complications increase if you:
- are overweight
- have high blood pressure
- don’t exercise
- have high cholesterol
- don’t get regular foot exams
- have uncontrolled blood sugar
In addition to your office or in home visits, make sure you call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fungus on, or in between, your toes
- Any burning, tingling or numbness
- Ulcers on your feet
- Pain or cramps in your legs or buttocks
- Any sore or blister that does not heal quickly