If you have diabetes, you need to take care of your feet. Every 20 seconds, someone with diabetes gets their foot amputated because of complications from foot ulcers and other issues.
Our team of primary care health professionals, led by Michele Reed, DO, FAAFP, at MS Family Medicine Health Care PC in Rosedale and Garden City, New York, understands the complexities of diabetes and how it can affect nearly every part of your body, including your feet.
In this blog, we want to give you some tips on how to keep your feet healthy when you have diabetes.
1. Examine your feet daily
Foot problems are common in people with diabetes for two reasons. First, high blood sugar levels can damage the tiny blood vessels in your feet, which can decrease circulation in your feet. And poor circulation can hinder the healing process in your feet.
Second, high blood sugar levels and poor circulation can damage the structure and function of the nerve endings in your feet, which can affect sensation. Consequently, you could have a cut on your foot and not know it due to the lack of feeling.
Examining your feet every day can help you find foot issues before they turn into serious complications. A simple blister in someone with diabetes could quickly turn into a foot ulcer if it’s not treated right away.
2. Never go barefoot
This can be a tough one, especially in the summer if you’re at the beach or community pool. But you should never go barefoot, even indoors. If you walk around without shoes on, you could step on a sharp object that pierces your foot. And, if you don’t feel it, this could lead to a serious situation quickly.
3. Wear shoes that fit well
If you have diabetes, you should wear shoes that protect your feet and fit right. And you should avoid shoes that are too tight or have heels that place too much pressure on one part of your foot. You should also wear socks with your shoes.
When shopping for shoes, do so at the end of the day, because feet are at their largest at this time. And break in any new pair of shoes slowly. Wear them for an hour or two at a time around the house for a few days, and check your feet for sores to make sure they fit right.
4. Keep your feet clean
You should wash your feet every day with soap and warm water. After washing, gently pat your feet dry and apply lotion to the tops and bottoms of your feet to prevent dryness and cracking.
We don’t recommend that you soak your feet, because this could cause your skin to dry out. We also don’t recommend applying moisturizer between your toes, because this could lead to fungal infections.
After cleaning your feet, you can trim your toenails if needed. However, when trimming them, cut them straight across and then smooth the edges with a nail file.
5. Get regular foot checkups
We inspect the feet of all our diabetic patients at every office visit. We examine the entire foot, looking for cuts, blisters, and other foot concerns. We also refer our diabetic patients to a podiatrist for yearly foot exams.
Besides regular checkups, you should also see us if you develop a blister, corn, toenail fungus, or any other foot issue. All foot problems in people with diabetes need immediate medical attention.
If you have diabetes and want great care, book an appointment online or over the phone with MS Family Medicine Health Care PC today.