Foot Health and Wellness

Foot Care for People with Diabetes

Introduction:

Statistics show that one in four people with diabetes will develop foot problems that require treatment.

A person can develop different types of foot problems, but all can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet, causing you to lose your ability to feel pain or discomfort. This is called diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes can also cause circulation problems, which can prevent you from healing as quickly as people without diabetes.

Clinical Diabetic Guidelines recommend that you have your feet checked at least annually for altered sensation, decreased circulation and/or infection.

If you already have diabetic neuropathy, you need to inspect your feet daily and look for cuts, blisters, sores, signs of infection or changes in color or temperature. People who have neuropathy are more likely to have the more significant foot complications.

Smoking has a huge impact on the likelihood of people with diabetes developing foot complications because it affects the circulation and causes nerve damage. So if you still smoke, you should stop as soon as possible.

Things to Consider:

As a diabetic it is important to make foot care a part of your daily life. Here are some important basics.

***Check your feet daily, if possible, morning and night. Look for anything out
of the ordinary, such as areas of redness, blisters or cuts. Look also for foreign
bodies such as splinters or pieces of glass or fissures in callused skin. If you
notice a wound, cleanse it with soap and water and cover it with an antibiotic
ointment and a sterile dressing. Make sure during subsequent inspections that it
is healing properly. If in doubt, have it checked by your health care provider.

***Use good daily hygiene.
Wash your feet daily with mild soap in luke warm, (not hot), water. Cleanliness
is your first line of defense in avoiding many foot problems. After washing, dry
our feet thoroughly and use a good moisturizing cream or lotion if your skin tends
to be dry. This will help protect against fissures that can form in dry or callused
skin. If your feet tend to perspire a lot it is good to use a good antifungal powder
each day. Make sure your socks are clean each day and that your shoes are
dry.

***Good Control of Your Blood Sugar.
Elevate blood glucose, (blood sugars), puts people at risk for many complications
including kidney damage, blindness, loss of circulation and sensation in the feet
and legs. Good control of your diabetes will help you prevent these as well as
other complications of the disease.

***Periodic Examination with a Health Care Provider
Patients with diabetes should have their feet examined at least once a year either
by their treating physician or a foot care specialist. If foot problems are noted it is
important to have professional treatment and follow up. Many foot problems can
be successfully treated or prevented with early intervention.

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