Posts for category: Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
Patients with diabetes have to take extra precautions with their feet. Poor circulation, reduced immune system defenses, and nerve damage are all hallmarks of this disease, which put diabetics at a greater risk for several medical disorders. At New England Foot &n Ankle Specialists we urge our patients to be vigilant in checking and caring for their feet to prevent these conditions:
Diabetic Ulcers—any cut or open wound, no matter how small, can spell big trouble for patients with diabetes. Circulation and immunity issues mean that wounds are slow to heal and diabetic ulcers can form from seemingly minor ailments such as blisters, ingrown toenails or dry, cracked skin. If bacteria enters the wound and infection develops, it can quickly spread to the bone. The risk of amputation is the primary concern if the infection cannot be controlled and eliminated.
Peripheral Neuropathy—neuropathy or nerve damage can occur anywhere in the body as a result of diabetes but in the feet it is particularly dangerous. Being unable to perceive changes in temperature, pain, or other sensations makes it much more likely that a diabetic will sustain an injury or not detect an irritant to the foot that could lead to an open wound.
Charcot Foot—this condition is not common but when it occurs the bones of the feet become very weak and begin to spontaneously fracture. Neuropathy prevents the patient with diabetes from perceiving the pain caused by the breaks and so he or she continues walking on the foot, causing more damage and eventually deformity and extreme difficulty walking.
If you have diabetes your foot doctor will be your partner in protecting your feet. Regular podiatric checkups are essential for foot health. Our podiatrists, Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, can help you develop a diabetic foot care regimen that will help prevent serious complications. If you have questions about diabetic foot health, contact our Reading office by calling: (781) 944-4044.
November is National Diabetes Month. People with diabetes either don’t produce enough insulin or don’t use the insulin the body produces efficiently, and consequently sugar builds up in the blood. This creates many serious medical problems, several of which can have a negative impact on your feet. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we believe that your podiatrist is your partner in caring for your feet and helping you develop a regimen that will prevent diabetic foot problems. Here are 5 ways you can do your part in ensuring healthy feet for years to come:
- Inspect your feet daily. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 60-70% of all patients with diabetes have accompanying nerve damage, which can lead to a loss of sensation in your feet. This means that the pain from injuries, blisters, and other irritations that create entry points for infections may not be felt immediately. Visually checking your feet carefully every day will help you spot problems that you may not feel.
- Choose footwear that fits properly. One of the biggest causes of diabetic wounds and ulcers is shoes that rub or put pressure on some part of the foot. Toe boxes that are too tight or high heels that squeeze toes and can cause bunions, hammertoes, and other deformities that can become open wounds. Poor circulation, which is also prevalent with diabetics, makes the wounds slower to heal.
- Schedule regular podiatric check-ups. Seeing your foot doctor periodically means a greater chance of problems being caught and treated early. Your podiatrist can also provide you with information and techniques to help you develop healthy habits for your feet.
- Keep feet clean, dry. Washing your feet daily and drying them thoroughly (especially between the toes) will increase your chances of avoiding infections of the skin and toes which can ultimately lead to open sores or ulcers.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. The best way to prevent diabetic foot problems is to keep your diabetes under control. Watch what you eat, exercise, don’t smoke and follow all your doctor’s instructions to give yourself the best chance at a long and healthy life.
If you are diabetic and have any concerns about your feet or toes, our podiatrists, Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will be happy to examine your feet and help you learn more ways to ensure good foot health. Schedule an appointment today at either our Reading office as soon as possible.