Being a diabetic means you are more susceptible to infection, blood circulation problems, and nerve damage to your extremities when compared to the average person. These factors can result in serious problems to your feet if you are not careful.
Because of peripheral nerve damage, you may not feel pain or notice small wounds which may be caused due to ingrown toenails, ill-fitting shoes, or minor injuries to your feet. These wounds can get easily infected if not attended to promptly. Poor blood flow to these injured areas can result in death of tissue or gangrene and spread of infection to adjacent healthy tissue. You may ultimately end up needing to have a toe or some other part of your foot amputated to prevent the spread of gangrene.
Here are some proactive tips for diabetic foot care:
Check all parts of your feet including the soles, sides of your feet, and the skin in between your toes. You can use or mirror or get someone to help you if you can’t do it yourself.
Use warm water and mild soap to wash your feet. Be sure to check the water temperature so it is not too hot before putting your feet in the water. Pat your feet dry with a soft towel carefully after washing. Use a good moisturizer on the dry skin of your feet, but don’t use it in between your toes as moist areas can lead to infection.
Trim your toenails immediately after a wash when they are soft. Cut them straight across and don’t make them too short. If your nails are too thick, you may need to get them cut by a podiatrist.
Avoid walking barefoot even at home as minor cuts or bruises could occur without your being aware of them. Your shoes should be the correct size with enough space in the toe box area. Choose leather, canvas, or suede shoes rather than shoes made from plastic or other material that does not breathe. Inspect the inside of your shoes every day to ensure there are no rough areas that could injure your feet.
When to see your doctor
See your doctor or a podiatrist for removal of corns, warts or other foot lesions. Never attempt to do it by yourself. Undergo a complete foot examination by your doctor at least once a year or more often if you tend to develop foot problems.
It is important to note that foot problems related to diabetes can get worse very quickly. Any minor cuts, bruises, or redness should be brought to the notice of your doctor as soon as possible.
NewportCare Medical Group is a comprehensive specialty group providing podiatry and wide range of healthcare services to the community in Orange County, Long Beach, Riverside and Newport Beach.