What You Should Know About Diabetes and Foot Care

Diabetes causes wide-reaching health concerns that affect all parts of your body. Along with your eyes, teeth, and heart, your feet are among the areas that are at great risk of complications if not cared for properly.

Diabetes causes compromised circulation, especially to your feet – which are the farthest body part from your heart. When you don’t have good blood flow, it’s hard for sores, blisters, and other injuries to heal.

Diabetes can also cause nerve damage or neuropathy. This means you may not feel cuts, ingrown toenails, or other issues until they’ve become infected.

If you have trouble managing your blood sugar, consistently high levels cause inflammation that further puts your feet at risk of injury, swelling, and general discomfort.

The expert, board-certified podiatrists at Hoosier Foot and Ankle offer the following advice when it comes to managing your feet when you have diabetes.

Check your feet daily

It’s essential that you examine your feet every day for blisters, cuts, or abrasions. You may check for calluses, corns, plantar warts, or areas of warmth – a possible sign of infection.

Poor circulation and nerve issues because of diabetic neuropathy mean you may not feel much sensation, so you need to do a visual and physical exam. If you can’t easily examine your own feet, use a mirror or have your caregiver or a family member do it for you.

Wash your feet every day

A daily rinse of your feet with warm water and soap helps keep them healthy. Always dry them thoroughly after a wash, especially between the toes. Moist feet are prone to fungal infections (like athlete’s foot), which can get out of control if you have diabetes.

Trim your toenails

Keep your toenails trimmed to prevent them from pushing into your flesh and causing ingrown toenails. Cut them straight across; we can show you the best technique.

Always wear shoes and socks

As many as half of people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage. This can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the feet – or sometimes an inability to feel pain, heat, or cold. Shoes and socks protect your feet from dangers that you can’t feel, like hot pavement or a stone that could cause a cut.

Before you put on your shoes, check for rocks or debris that could cause friction or irritation.

Take breaks to encourage blood flow

Whenever you sit down, prop your feet up on a stool or chair to restore circulation. Wiggle your toes, too, to promote blood flow. Do this several times throughout the day.

Choose supportive, well-fitting shoes

We can provide you with guidance as to how to select comfortable, supportive shoes with minimal seams that are appropriate for diabetic feet. It’s a good idea to try on shoes later in the day, when your feet have had a chance to swell from daily activity. Break new shoes in gradually.

Quit smoking

Smoking compromises circulation further and is bad for your overall health, whether you have diabetes or not. Your feet already have trouble healing efficiently when you have diabetes. Smoking just compounds slow healing and puts your feet at a greater health disadvantage.

Schedule regular podiatric checks

Yearly checks with a podiatrist, like us here at Hoosier Foot and Ankle, are important, too. We check for blood flow and feeling. If you have nerve damage, we may encourage you to come in more often.

If you’re in Carmel, Indianapolis, Zionsville, Fishers, Franklin, or Kokomo Indiana, contact any of the conveniently located Hoosier Foot and Ankle offices for thorough podiatric care. Call today, or use the online tool to schedule your appointment. 

 

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