If you have diabetes, you need to be vigilant about your foot care
One of the longer term conditions associated with diabetes is peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD occurs when blood vessels in your legs narrow, blocked by fatty deposits. With PAD, blood flow to your legs and feet decreases.
Another longer term condition is nerve damage or neuropathy. Over time, excess blood sugar can cause damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to your nerves, especially in your legs and feet.
When functioning properly, your nerves send signals to your brain—about the pain of stepping on a sharp object, a rubbing shoe that is creating a blister, or an infected toe nail. When nerves don’t function as they should, you may have foot injuries you are unaware of. Left unattended, injuries may fester. Lack of blood flow, essential to healing, can make the problem worse.
By managing your blood sugar levels, you can help prevent or delay nerve damage. If you already have nerve damage, managing your blood sugar levels may help prevent or delay further damage.
Helping With Your Foot Care Needs
An estimated 15% of all people with diabetes require foot treatment at some time in their lives. At Aurora BayCare, we know you have specific needs for foot care. We can help with everything from education to diabetic foot ulcer treatment, wound treatment, and more.
Together, we help you:
- Identify the best footwear for your protection
- Manage infection, such as diabetic foot wounds and ulcers
- Monitor your feet
- Recognize the warning signs of diabetic foot problems
Foot Maintenance Tips For People With Diabetes
In addition to meeting regularly with your doctor, there are other measures you can take to care for your foot health and minimize longer-term complications.
- Wash your feet every day in lukewarm water. Dry them well, especially between your toes. Apply moisturizer over the top and bottom of your feet, but not between the toes. Excess moisture between your toes can promote fungal infection.
- Always wear shoes and socks. Wear shoes that fit well and support your feet to avoid blisters.
- Never walk barefoot, even at the beach.
- Keep socks on at night if your feet get cold. Wear warm socks and boots in the winter.
- Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, red spots, bruises, changes in toenails, or swelling. Use a mirror to check the bottom of your feet if necessary.
- When needed, trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file. If you are not able to trim your own nails, see a podiatrist (foot doctor).
- Maintain your circulation by wiggling your toes and moving your ankles up and down for several minutes a few times each day. Elevate your feet when sitting. Avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time.
- Have your doctor check your feet at each appointment.
- Call your doctor if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after one day.
- Plan a physical activity program with your doctor. This helps you to control your weight, manage your blood sugar levels, and improve circulation.
- If you smoke, quit.
Working together to manage your foot care, we can help you maintain mobility, avoid limb loss often associated with diabetes, and help you live your best life.