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.