Living with diabetes means paying extra attention to your blood sugar. That’s because this condition interferes with how your body converts food into energy, which leaves you with elevated blood sugar levels.
Ignoring this problem can lead to serious health complications all over your body — especially your feet.
Our team offers patient-centered services at Premier Foot and Ankle Center, including diabetic foot care. With us on your diabetic care team, you can rest easy knowing that we can help reduce your risk of foot complications, including amputations.
Do you have diabetes? Here’s why a podiatrist should be part of your care team.
Diabetes and the feet
As mentioned above, diabetes means you have higher than normal blood sugar levels. Over time, this can damage vital structures in the body, from delicate blood vessels and nerves to major organs like your heart and kidneys.
Unfortunately, damage to your nerves and blood vessels can be especially problematic for your feet. Approximately half of those with diabetes have nerve damage somewhere in their bodies, usually in the feet and legs.
When combined with poor circulation from damaged blood vessels, this creates a dangerous situation. Even a minor foot injury, like a blister, can become infected and heal poorly, putting you at risk of amputation.
Worse yet, nearly 50% of people with nerve damage in their extremities don’t know it.
The importance of proactive diabetic foot care
While diabetes can significantly increase your risk of foot problems, there’s still good news. Don’t worry; the steps for taking good care of your feet aren’t complicated, and it all starts at home.
If you have diabetes, simply follow these steps each day:
- Check for signs of injury, sores, discoloration, or swelling
- Wash your feet in warm water and dry completely
- Apply lotion to the tops and bottoms of your feet, but never between your toes
- Keep your feet elevated when sitting
- Wiggle your toes for several minutes multiple times
- Wear shoes that fit well and comfortably
- Never go barefoot, even indoors
And when trimming your toenails, always cut straight across, then smooth the sharp edges with a file.
Good diabetic foot care should be a daily priority, but your care plan shouldn’t stop there. You also need regular visits with a podiatrist.
Why you need a podiatrist on your diabetic care team
During diabetic foot care visits, a podiatrist checks your feet for blood flow, feeling, injury, and foot problems that can cause issues, like ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses. They can even take care of trimming your nails safely if you need assistance.
In addition to regular podiatry appointments to monitor the health of your feet, you should also schedule an appointment immediately if you notice any changes, such as:
- Loss of sensation
- Pain, tingling, or burning
- Change in shape, color, or temperature
- Yellowed or thickened toenails
- Signs of fungal infection between the toes
- Loss of hair on the lower legs, feet, or toes
- Ingrown toenails, blisters, infected corns, or sores
Being proactive with your diabetic foot care and having a podiatrist on your team can help you catch potential issues early and take action immediately — reducing your chances of amputation by up to 85%.
Do you have a podiatrist on your diabetic care team? Contact us at Premier Foot and Ankle Center in Worcester or Webster, Massachusetts, to learn more today.