Engaging in good diabetic foot care is an important element of living with this disease. This means wearing the right shoes, managing your diabetes with medication, and practicing a daily diabetic foot exam at home. You should also come in to our office for regular visits to make sure everything is looking good.
How Peripheral Neuropathy Affects the Limbs
A person with diabetes has more to worry about regarding the health of their feet than most other people do. Peripheral neuropathy is a complication of this disease which involves nerve damage. This can happen if your blood sugar levels are too high for too long, so it is very important to manage your disease before you even get to this point.
The main symptom of this secondary condition is a lack of sensation in your lower limbs, specifically your feet. There may also be a tingling or burning sensation associated with neuropathy. You may not notice when you have injured yourself because you can’t feel pain. This is when daily foot checks become crucial to your health.
Diabetic Foot Exams
One of your top priorities should be making time to check your feet on a daily basis. Even the smallest wound can turn into a foot ulcer if left untreated. It’s better to carve out a small chunk of time each day to inspect your feet than to risk having to amputate a toe or limb.
Make sure you do your daily foot check when your feet are washed and cleaned. A good time may be after your shower or bath. Carefully look over every inch of your feet, including in between your toes and around the heels. If you can’t see on your own you may use a mirror or have a loved one help you. Using your sense of touch can also help, for example you may feel a bump that even your eyes didn’t see. Keep track of your exams and note any changes that may have occurred. If you notice a wound that won’t heal you should get yourself to our office immediately.
General Diabetic Foot Care Tips
Not only is checking your feet important, but so is protecting them from harm in the first place. Make sure you wear the right footwear for whatever activity it is that you’re doing. Always wear socks with your shoes to lessen friction that could lead to corns or calluses, and to keep moisture away to reduce the risk of developing a foot fungus. Also, never do anything without wearing some kind of protective foot covering. Even if you’re just at home, you could step on something sharp and not notice it.
Keep your feet cleaned and groomed. Do this by trimming your nails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails. If you go to a salon be sure that it is a place that is familiar with diabetic feet. You should also protect your feet from extreme temperatures by using your wrist or elbow to test. Always consider how anything might affect the safety of your feet and make it your priority to neutralize any potential threats.
Assembling a Foot Care Team
It’s important to have a great team of medical professionals on your side if you are struggling with diabetes. A podiatrist like Dr. Mitchell Wachtel is a wonderful asset to your medical team. For more information about taking care of your diabetic feet you can call (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in our Lowell, MA office.