Because diabetes causes restricted blood flow to the legs and also nerve damage that reduces sensation in the feet, patients with diabetes often suffer from serious foot problems. If the diabetes is uncontrolled in extreme cases, a toe or foot may have to be amputated although these are much less common today.
So it is vital for individuals with diabetes to maintain good foot health. Here are 10 top tips for keeping your feet healthy for anyone but especially for those with diabetes:
- If you have diabetes, manage your disease. Understand your doctor’s treatment plan and follow it carefully to reduce the risk of complications.
- Have your feet checked. Get a complete foot exam from your podiatrist at least once a year.
- Inspect feet daily. Look at the bottoms and tops of the feet and all around the toes. You can use a mirror on the floor to check the bottoms. Check for cuts, blisters, bruises, nail problems and color changes and take care of anything you find.
- Keep feet clean and supple. Wash daily in warm, soapy water. After drying carefully, apply an emollient moisturizer but not between the toes.
- Don’t go barefoot. Wear shoes to protect feet and avoid cuts, scrapes and splinters that you may not feel because of neuropathy. Steer clear of flimsy footwear like flip-flops.
- Wear supportive, well-fitting shoes. Choose shoes that fit well with a roomy toe box and that don’t rub anywhere. We are happy to examine your feet and recommend the best shoes for your foot type. We stock a wide variety of shoes and diabetic footwear in our Ardmore shoe store.
- Keep feet dry. Change shoes or socks if they are wet or damp.
- Wear socks. Socks should be comfortable and not too loose. Look for padded and seamless socks to avoid rubbing.
- Elevate the feet. While relaxing, keep legs and feet up to help blood flow to the feet.
- Keep active. Aerobic exercise will lower blood glucose, improve circulation and benefit your entire body.
Most importantly, seek out a qualified foot doctor for any toe or foot problems you observe. Never use over-the-counter products for calluses, corns or bunions as these may increase the risk of infection.
Call Us for a Comprehensive Foot Exam
If you or a family member has diabetes, come in to Your Next Step for a complete foot exam. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, board certified and qualified podiatrists, have extensive experience in working with patients with diabetes as well as any foot pain or condition. Our Ardmore, Paoli and Downingtown offices are conveniently located and you can contact us using information at the website. Good foot care is an essential part of managing your health with diabetes.