One of the most potentially damaging and dangerous complications for diabetics is the development of a foot ulcer. Diabetics must be extremely careful to prevent this condition since it can go undetected due to the lack of sensation in the feet caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Since decreased blood circulation is also common in diabetics, the resulting diminished immune response also adversely affects the healing process for wounds. This combination can lead to infected ulcers that spread to the bones in the foot, often leading to amputation of a toe, foot, or lower leg.
To help avoid the chances of these ulcers forming, see your foot doctor for regular check ups and utilize the following tips:
- Daily foot check—Look for any cuts, scrapes, punctures, or bruises. Use a mirror to inspect the bottoms of your feet, since this is where many foot ulcers first form.
- Cleanliness—Keeping your feet clean and dry helps avoid complications. Use a mild soap and warm water.
- Manage blood sugar—Follow your dietary guidelines and check your glucose levels regularly.
- Smoking cessation—Smoking constricts blood vessels, which leads to a decrease in blood circulation and a wide variety of other health problems.
- Custom orthotic inserts and shoes—Consult with your foot specialist for assistance with specially designed shoes for diabetic patients. Orthotic inserts can also be employed for added stability.
- Alcohol—There are many reasons to limit your alcohol intake, with nerve damage being one of the major reasons to limit or stop drinking alcohol.
If you notice a wound on your foot that isn’t healing properly, seek medical attention right away. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide top quality podiatric care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area. Please contact us at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA for more information or to schedule an appointment.