At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we know that diabetes doesn’t have to prevent you from living a full and active life. We treat many patients with this disease and we know it can have a big impact on the health of your feet. Diabetes impedes the circulatory and immune systems increasing the likelihood of infections and decreasing the body’s ability to heal. To make matters worse, neuropathy, a condition also commonly associated with diabetes, makes it difficult to perceive sensations like pain or heat which would signal a potential wound. The good news is there’s much you can do to protect your feet. In recognition of National Diabetes Awareness Month we’d like to focus on some particularly important areas:
Foot Care—Your feet can be both a recipient and an early warning system with regard to problems with diabetes. For that reason, inspecting your feet on a daily basis is essential. Changes in skin or nails, lumps, swelling, bruises, redness, blisters can all signal a potential problem developing. It’s critical that one of our foot doctors, Dr. Victoria Foley or Dr. Constance Omelas be informed of any unusual changes immediately. A good care regimen can also help decrease the risk of foot problems in diabetic patients. Wash feet with a mild soap in warm—not hot—water and dry completely, especially between your toes.
Shoes—Although well-made, properly fitted shoes can help reduce the risk of foot disorders in all patients, those with diabetes have specific concerns to address. Look for shoes that are well cushioned to reduce impact to the soles of your feet. Shoes should be laced and fit snugly (but not tight) to provide stability and limit side to side movement of the foot. If you have a toe deformity such as a bunion or hammertoe, special padding may be prescribed to prevent rubbing and friction which could lead to a corn or callus. Be sure the front of the shoe is roomy to prevent toes from being squeezed together.
Keep Feet Dry—Damp feet can lead to a fungal infection. If you tend to sweat profusely you can use a foot powder or even antiperspirant on the soles of your feet to reduce wetness. Change socks whenever you notice they are damp.
Healthy Lifestyle—Follow your doctor’s instructions for controlling your diabetes. Don’t smoke (it will further impede your circulation). Eat a healthy diet that is high in protein, vegetables and whole grains and limits saturated and trans fats and sugars. Exercise regularly for good joint health and weight control.