Whether you're newly diagnosed with diabetes or you have had it for many years, you quickly learn just how important caring for your feet is. Often, you hear scary stories of people losing their toes and feet just because of diabetes. Fortunately, with good control of your blood sugar levels and daily foot care, it doesn't have to lead to losing your feet. Some of the symptoms you may have as a diabetic can be numbness of the feet or toes, a small wound that does not heal or increases in size, or an infection of the foot that does not seem to be getting better.
Diabetes can decrease circulation, which is often linked to poor healing. When it comes to diabetes, people may neglect foot care. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately one in five people with diabetes end up in the hospital because of complications of the foot. Being proactive about keeping your feet healthy is the best way to care for a diabetic foot. Here are some tips to keeping your feet healthy while managing your diabetes:
-First thing is first:make friends with your podiatrist. You should be having your feet checked annually at minimum and more often if you develop complications of the foot. If you begin to see cuts or an ingrown toenail, make an appointment as soon as possible.
-Check your feet every single day! You may begin to lose sensitivity to your feet and you may not feel it if you step on glass or cut your foot. The best way to know is to make time at the end of each day and inspect each foot. If you have trouble seeing the bottom of your foot, ask someone to help you look or use a mirror to get a better look!
-Keep your feet clean! But be careful when stepping into a bath or shower. Always carefully test the water with your hands first. You can burn your feet and not even know it by stepping into a bath that is too hot. This also goes for heating blankets and heating pads. Never place them directly onto your feet.
-Get with your podiatrist about ordering special shoe inserts. You can have custom fitted shoes and specialty inserts made in-office and these will help protect your feet. Wearing shoes, even at home, will help protect your feet from injury.
-Keep active and healthy! You don't have to stop your normal exercise. In fact, it is important that you continue to exercise, eat healthy, and monitor your blood sugar.
-Smoking further reduces circulation to your feet. So if you smoke, look at your options to quit. Your doctor can help you find local resources to get you started.
If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, call Emerald Coast Podiatry! We will be happy to discuss all the options you have for keeping your feet healthy.