Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects millions of Americans. It particularly affects their feet in many ways. Here at the Family Foot Care Center our job is to protect your feet and keep them healthy. We do this by trimming your toenails and calluses. We thoroughly screen your feet for risk factors and then develop a protocol to reduce those risk factors. Often times with routine diabetic foot care visits we can detect or find problems way before they become serious, thus insuring the health of your feet!

  1. People with diabetes are more prone to developing foot problems than those people without diabetes. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the delay in even simple healing and the susceptibility to infection.
  1. Persons with diabetes must learn to take special notice of even minor injuries. Even the most trivial injuries to the skin of the feet may result in infections that have serious consequences. Injuries, such as cracks between toes, injuries from stepping on small objects while walking, burns on the bottom of feet from walking on hot sand or pavement, should not go ignored. Such injuries may seem simple but can lead to complications that could result in loss of limb.
  1. See your Podiatrist immediately if any injury should occur.

Important terms to know:

Neuropathy: the loss or lessening of feeling in the feet. This may begin as tingling, itching, burning or hot or cold sensations. Eventually these feelings can progress to numbness or even a lack of any sensation at all. Numbness is more dangerous to a diabetic because injuries can occur and progress without the diabetic even being aware of how or when it has occurred.

Angiopathy: the decrease in circulation to legs caused by narrowing, hardening and changes in the blood vessels. This happens in all individuals eventually as a normal result of aging, but in diabetics, it happens more severely and much earlier. Blood carries nourishment and infection fighting cells through the body.

When the circulation decreases or is diminished, so is the ability to repair injured areas, and also the ability to fight infection.

Both Neuropathy and Angiopathy are more advanced the further you go down the leg. The toes are affected the most.

Some wise precautions:

  1. Do a daily foot exam
  2. Select shoes carefully
  3. Do not smoke
  4. Apply moisturizing cream to feet and legs daily
  5. Walk as much as possible
  6. Do NOT ignore the mundane
  7. See your Podiatrist

 Things to look for:

  • CHANGES IN SKIN COLOR. Redness may be a sign of infection. Darkened skin may mean that tissue has died. Blue skin may mean poor blood flow.
  • DRAINAGE, BLEEDING, OR ODOR. White or yellow moisture, bleeding, or odor may be a sign of infection.
  • SWELLING. A swollen foot may be infected.
  • TOENAIL INFECTIONS. A darkened, flaking, or distorted toenail may mean a fungal infection. This can make the toenail grow to the side. If this happens, the toenail may damage the surrounding skin. An infection may result.
  • INGROWN TOENAILS. Cutting nails too short or wearing tight shoes may cause toenails to grow into the skin.
  • LONG OR POINTED TOENAILS. Long, sharp toenails may cause cuts in the surrounding skin, which may become infected.
  • TEMPERATURE CHANGES. Infection may cause warm spots. Poor blood flow may cause cool spots.
  • CHANGES IN FEELING. Numbness, burning, or tingling may be caused by nerve damage in the feet.

 The 12 Steps

 There is a lot you can do to prevent problems with your feet. Keeping your blood sugar in good control and taking care of your feet can help protect them. Here are 12 steps to ensure good foot health:

  1. Check your bare feet every day. Look for cuts, sores, bumps and red spots. Use a mirror or ask a family member for help if you have trouble seeing the bottoms of your feet.
  2. Wash your feet in warm – not hot – water everyday. Use a mild soap. Do not soak your feet. Dry your feet with a soft towel. Dry between your toes.
  3. Cover you feet with a lotion or petroleum jelly after washing them, before putting on your socks and shoes. Do NOT put the lotion or jelly between your toes.
  4. Cut your toenails straight across. Do not leave sharp edges that could cut the next toe.
  5. Use a dry towel to rub away dead skin.
  6. Do NOT try to cut calluses or corns yourself with a blade or knife. Do NOT use wart removers on your feet. If you have warts, painful corns, or calluses, see a doctor who treats foot problems. This kind of doctor is called a Podiatrist.
  7. Wear thick, soft socks. Do NOT wear mended stockings or stockings with holes or seams that might rub into your feet.
  8. Check your shoes before you put them on to be sure they have no sharp edges or objects in them.
  9. Wear shoes that fit well and let your toes move. Break in new shoes slowly. Do NOT wear flip-flops, shoes with pointed toes or plastic shoes. NEVER go barefoot.
  10. Wear socks if your feet are cold at night. Do NOT use heating pads or hot water bottles on your feet.
  11. Have your doctor check your bare feet at every visit. Take off your shoes and socks when you go in the exam room. This will remind the doctor to check your feet.
  12. See a Podiatrist for help if you can’t take care of your feet yourself.

At the Family FootCare Center, we specialize in: