How to Protect Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Diabetes is a health condition that you manage every day. It helps to create a routine, and the routine should always include

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes, there’s a lot of information to absorb. Having diabetes means it’s vital to pay special attention to your overall health, including your feet. People with diabetes are more susceptible to foot problems than the overall population. A minor foot problem can turn into a major complication that affects your general health. 

How does diabetes affect my feet?

Diabetes places you at increased risk for peripheral artery disease (PAD), which means the walls of your blood vessels have too much cholesterol sticking to them. They’ve narrowed to the point where the blood flow to your feet is weak. 

Without a good blood supply, which contains blood platelets with rich growth factors and proteins, you’re more susceptible to infection. If you get a small cut or abrasion on your foot, it could become a diabetic foot ulcer, which is an open wound that’s difficult to heal. If not properly treated, a foot ulcer can spread to the bone. Statistics show that foot ulcers precede 85% of amputations caused by diabetes. 

If you’ve had diabetes for a number of years, you may have developed neuropathy, meaning you’ve developed nerve damage that prevents you from feeling pain in your feet. Almost one half of people with diabetes may have peripheral neuropathy from increased blood sugar levels over a number of years. Since you don’t have feeling in the foot, you don’t know if your shoe has caused a blister after a long hike, or whether you’ve stepped on a staple or pin that fell to the floor. 

The following are tips to help you protect your feet when you have diabetes

Make regular appointments with your podiatrist 

Your board-certified podiatrist at Lakeridge & Stafford Foot and Ankle Centers is your partner in helping you care for your feet. Regular checkups can catch minor problems before they become complications you don’t want. Our podiatrists are trained in the most advanced treatment for diabetic foot and leg wounds. Make your next appointment at the checkout counter before you leave the office. 

Examine your feet daily 

Check your feet every day. Look for abrasions, cuts, corns, calluses, redness, swelling, or problems with your nails. Use a mirror to examine the bottom of your foot if it’s difficult to pull it up over your knee. 

Bathe in lukewarm, not hot water

If you like to take baths, use a thermometer to test the water. If you have nerve damage, you could step into scalding water without realizing it until too late. 

Keep your feet clean and dry; use diabetic socks 

If you’re in a tennis match or go on a long hike, bring extra socks and change during the day. Don’t let your feet sit in hot, sweaty socks and shoes for hours. 

Bathe your feet thoroughly every day, and wash and dry gently between your toes. Use diabetic socks with looser elastic tops that don’t constrict blood flow. 

Wear appropriate shoes 

If you’re a woman, you may love high heels, but most of them have narrow, pointed toes that cram your toes against each other and can cause abrasions on the sides of your feet. Both men and women should wear flat shoes with a wide toe box so your feet have plenty of room. 

If you find a particular brand of shoe that you love, buy more than one pair so that you can give each a chance to breathe and dry out after each wear. 

Don’t go barefoot 

Never go barefoot — even in the house; it’s too easy to get a cut on the bottom of your foot. It’s tempting at the beach but think about all of the pieces of shells in the sand. Consult with your podiatrist at Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers on the best footwear for the beach and the pool. 

Don’t trim anything on your feet except your nails

Let your podiatrist deal with a corn or callus on your foot. We can trim your nails, too. If you trim your nails, cut straight across so that you don’t get an ingrown toenail. 

Call or book an appointment online with Lakeridge & Stafford Foot and Ankle Centers for all of your podiatry needs. 

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