Feet Care for Diabetics
Diabetic foot ulcers are open sores or wounds that occur on the bottom of the foot. They typically develop when a small cut does not heal for a long period of time. They often develop unknowingly to a diabetic patient due to lack of sensation in the feet caused by nerve damage.
A common and costly complication of diabetes, foot ulcers can easily be prevented through self-examination and proper foot care. When left untreated, foot ulcers can lead to:
- Lower limb amputation
Vascular disease, including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease, accounts for 54 percent of all amputations in the United States (Amputee Coalition). Because of poor circulation and nerve damage to the feet, people with diabetes are more likely to develop infections even from a minor foot injury. For this reason, people with diabetes should treat their feet with special care.
By following some simple foot care tips and having routine visits with a doctor for diabetic foot care, people with diabetes can reduce their risk of amputation and lead healthy, active lives.
Are You At Risk?
Nerve damage is commonly caused by poor blood flow in your feet. If you’re diabetic, you may develop or already have nerve damage. These factors may increase your risk for foot problems:
- High blood sugar levels, especially for long periods of time
- Being overweight
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight
Patients with diabetes should follow these steps to prevent foot ulcers:
- Check the bottom of your feet for cuts, sores, blisters or areas of irritation. If you have any concerns, call your diabetic foot care center or see your diabetic podiatrist or internist.
- Wash and dry your feet, particularly between your toes.
- Protect your feet from extreme hot and cold temperatures.
- Wear shoes to avoid getting cuts or open wounds.
When your toenails need trimming:
- Trim your nails straight across, and only if you can see well.
- If you cannot see well or if your toenails are thick or yellowed, have a certified diabetic foot specialist at the Diabetes Care Center at St. Mary’s or a diabetic foot doctor trim them.
- Avoid cutting the corners of your toes.
- Do not use acid corn or callus removers or cut your corns or calluses.
If you need help with any of the above, reach out to your diabetic foot care specialist for more information and/or instruction.
When you visit your diabetic foot care doctor, ask him/her to:
- Remove your shoes and socks for the doctor to see your bare feet
- Check your feet for sense of feeling and your pulse at least once a year.
- Show you how to take proper care of your feet and what warning signs to look out for.
Diabetic foot issues don’t stop there. Another complication can be developing Charcot foot. Charcot is characterized by swelling of the foot and/or ankle, redness and warmth due to inflammation. Like ulcers, it’s usually caused by an injury that goes untreated because the diabetic patient has little to no feeling to warn them that something is wrong.
Obesity is the most significant risk factor of causing Charcot due to excess weight being put on the foot. Strained joints that are just below the skin can lead to ulcerations on top of Charcot.
If you lack feeling in your feet, it’s especially important for daily checks and diabetic podiatry visits alongside diabetic foot care and treatment.
When it comes to diabetic foot health, the best treatment is prevention. The Diabetes Care Center at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center is here for any and all of your diabetic foot care service needs.
Contact St. Mary’s Physician Associates for Diabetic Foot Care
The foot care specialists at St. Mary’s Physician Associates offers diabetic foot care for patients who are diabetic in the Northwest Oklahoma area. Diabetic patients are urged to make an appointment once a year for a foot exam. Patients interested in foot care services can check insurances accepted at St. Mary’s Physician Associates, what items to bring with you the day of appointment and new patient forms.