November is American Diabetes Month and an important time to look at how to combat this disease. Proper care of your feet is extremely important when you are a patient who must deal with a diabetes diagnosis. Since diabetes typically causes peripheral nerve damage, you gradually lose some feelings in your feet and may not even be aware when you have a cut or scrape. You may also have reduced blood flow, which can impair your immune system and make injuries take longer to heal. Suppose you develop a wound, even as small as a blister. If left untreated, a serious infection or even an ulcerating wound can form, sometimes leading to the necessary amputation of a toe, foot, or even a leg to prevent the spread of infection.
Use of the following guidelines can help avoid significant problems:
- Daily foot exams—look for any cuts, blisters, swelling, and discoloration. Look between your toes and in the cracks. Be sure to check the bottom of your feet with a mirror if necessary.
- Wash your feet often—check that the water isn’t too hot since you can burn your feet easily when you have no feeling in them. With a soft washcloth, gently clean your feet. Pat them dry and be sure to dry up moisture between your toes to help avoid fungal and bacterial infections.
- Cut nails straight across—to avoid ingrown toenails, cut them straight across.
- Treatment of corns and calluses—should be done by your podiatrist to avoid cutting yourself and risking infection.
- Treat dry skin—with moisturizing lotion, but do not use it between your toes to help keep them dry.
- Wear clean, dry socks—wearing special socks that wick away moisture is also helpful at keeping feet dry.
- Specially designed diabetic footwear—an excellent way to keep your feet in good health is with specialized footwear often covered by medical insurance.
- Have your feet examined—regularly have your feet examined by your podiatrist to look for any problems and help develop a comprehensive treatment plan for the continuing care of your feet.
If you need assistance with your diabetic foot issues, a foot care professional is uniquely qualified to help. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of Your Next Step Podiatry are experienced in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Our offices are in the glorious areas of Montgomery County, Chester County, Greater Philadelphia, Downingtown, and the Greater Philadelphia area, and Paoli. Call our office in Downingtown at (610) 873-0322 or our Ardmore office at (610) 642-8837 to schedule an appointment today.