November is American Diabetes Month and at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center this is a topic of high importance. Diabetes has the potential to seriously impact the health of your feet. When blood sugar levels are high, your immune system can be compromised, and your body may have difficulty fighting infections. Two other conditions associated with diabetes—poor circulation and peripheral neuropathy (loss of feeling) — can conspire to put your feet at risk for dangerous wounds and infections. Diabetes can also affect your bones, joints, and skin. This year’s message from the American Diabetes Association, however, is one of hope: “We Stand Greater Than Diabetes.” The good news is that there are many ways to prevent podiatric problems if you have diabetes. Below are eight to consider:
- Schedule regular podiatric exams. Our podiatrists, Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas, are an important part of your health care team if you have diabetes. Seeking care regularly will help the foot doctor spot problems before they get out of control and help you be proactive in protecting your feet.
- Check your feet daily. Getting in the habit of examining your feet—top, bottom, between the toes and toenails—will enable you to spot any changes promptly. Cuts that aren’t healing, redness, swelling, bruising, growths, or changes in skin color or nails may all be signs that something potentially harmful is developing. Any changes should be reported promptly to our Long Beach office by calling: (562) 420-9800.
- Choose your shoes carefully. Avoid stiff shoes and look for styles that have roomy toe boxes. Get your feet measured and fitted professionally and periodically run your hand around the inside of the shoes to make sure there are no rough seams or material that could cause friction and blisters.
- Don’t smoke. It impedes circulation.
- Keep feet dry. Sitting in damp footwear can increase your risk of athlete’s foot and fungal toenails.
- Don’t go barefoot. Even at home, wear slippers or shoes to prevent cuts and puncture wounds.
- Do not use medicated pads, acid solutions, or sticky pads. For warts, corns, and calluses consult your podiatrist for treatment and don’t attempt any “bathroom surgeries.”
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your diabetes. Take your medications as directed, eat a nutritious diet, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly.