According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects the lives of about 25.8 million children and adults in the United States.
Although diabetes affects people of all ages, it is most prevalent in the 65 and older age group, affecting about 27% of this age group.
Foot amputations and foot ulcers can manifest themselves in diabetic patients if not managed properly. Therefore, the key to amputation prevention in diabetic patients is early recognition through regular foot screenings at least once per year.
How Does Diabetes Hurt Your Feet?
- Nerve damage. With damage to the nerves of your foot, you might not feel pain, heat, or cold. A sore or cut on your foot could then get worse because you don’t know it’s there, possibly leading to ulcerations, open wounds or infection. This lack of feeling is caused by nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy.
- Poor blood flow. This second problem occurs when not enough blood flows to your legs and feet. Poor blood flow makes it difficult for a sore or infection to heal. Poor circulation in your legs (or arms) is called peripheral vascular disease, also known as PVD. Smoking when you have diabetes makes blood circulation problems even worse.
Here are some diabetes foot care tips from the American Diabetes Association to help keep your feet healthy:
Take care of your diabetes. Work with your health care team to keep your blood glucose in target range.
Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you can’t see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone to help.
Be more active. Plan your physical activity program with your health team.
Ask your doctor about Medicare coverage for special shoes.
Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes.
Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.
If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them when needed. Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don’t put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for five minutes, two or three times a day. Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time. Don’t smoke.
Regular Visits To Your Podiatrist
All people with diabetes should receive an annual foot examination to identify high-risk foot conditions to prevent further complications.
Our office is located in Sterling Heights on Dequindre Road just north of 18 Mile Road. To make an appointment, please call us at 586-731-7873. Most insurance plans accepted.