What You Should Know About Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes is a serious medical condition, and a growing problem for the U.S. population. Over 30 million people are diabetic – including 7.2 million who are undiagnosed – and another 84 million are considered prediabetic. Prediabetes is a condition wherein blood sugar levels are higher than a healthy range but are not high enough to merit an actual diagnosis of diabetes.
There are many health considerations and concerns associated with diabetes, including ones related to the health and safety of your feet. Feet might not seem too important when you have a disease that causes blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes, but diabetes puts your lower limbs at serious risk for medical emergencies, too.
That’s why a comprehensive foot care plan is a necessary tool to protect your feet and reduce the risk of issues developing. Early detection of any abnormalities will enable you to receive help when the problems are in their most treatable stages. If you do not already have a plan in place, come see Jason Wilks, DPM and we will help you create one that keeps you safe.
We are committed to providing diabetic foot care services to keep you and your loved ones healthy. This starts with educating you about the disease itself, how it affects feet, and what preventative measures can be taken to help ensure prolonged health.
How Can Diabetes Affect Your Feet?
There are two particular issues that are commonly associated with diabetes which work together to create a dangerous threat to foot health. The first of these is peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Individuals with diabetes often have poor circulation, which is an especially big problem for feet, given that they are already the body’s furthest points from the heart. Impaired blood flow makes it difficult for feet to receive the nourishment they need.
The other common issue is diabetic neuropathy. This concerning condition results in damaged nerves that lose their ability to transmit messages to the central nervous system (spine and brain). The inherent danger of neuropathy is that an injury can be sustained without the individual being aware of it. Left untreated, minor issues can then snowball into serious medical problems.
Diabetic neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease form a very dangerous one-two punch that can result in issues like Charcot foot or even gangrene (tissue death). Charcot foot frequently results in severe deformity, and cases of gangrene are irreversible and often require amputation to prevent the spread of dangerous infection.
How Can You Care For Your Feet?
In order to lessen the risk of a serious medical emergency, you need to take measures to both protect the feet and detect issues at their earliest stages. An effective foot care plan includes:
- Daily Foot Inspections –With a diminished ability to experience physical sensations, diabetic individuals must inspect their feet every day —tops, bottoms, and between the toes—and check for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and anything else that is out of the ordinary.
- Proper Hygiene Practices –Infections pose a greater risk for diabetic individuals on account of a weakened immune system and poor circulation. To head off problems, feet should be washed daily with a mild soap and warm (not hot!) water.
- Careful Nail Trimming –Ingrown nails increase the risk of infection. To help prevent them, toenails should be trimmed straight across and maintained so that they are even with the edges of toes.
- Foot Protection –Proper footwear always needs to be worn, even when indoors. Before putting on diabetic socks and shoes, the insides should be inspected to make sure there is nothing inside them that could potentially damage the feet.
- Regularly-Scheduled Foot Exams –Keeping your scheduled appointments with Jason Wilks, DPM is a smart way to ensure that everything is okay.
And whenever you notice a wound – regardless of it being infected or not – you should seek podiatric medical treatment immediately. The primary goal is to obtain healing as soon as possible. The faster the healing, the less chance for an infection.
Need Help? We Provide Expert Diabetic Foot Care!
Our office is here to provide assistance with any facet of foot care you or your loved one requires. We can help you create a plan to keep you safe, and also offer effective prevention and treatment options.