Although diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels, it doesn’t just impact your blood. Diabetes affects your entire body — including your feet. People with diabetes are more likely to experience poor circulation in their feet as well as nerve damage and diabetic ulcers. Left untreated, diabetic ulcers increase your risk of gangrene and amputation.
Our podiatrist, Dr. Mark Forman, is certified by the American Board of Multiple Specialties in Prevention and Treatment of Diabetic Foot Wounds. He offers expert diabetic foot care here at Put Your Feet First.
Below, Dr. Forman highlights five tips you can implement to take your diabetic foot care to the next level.
1.Check your feet daily
Poor circulation — a common issue for those with diabetes — can turn even the smallest abrasions into a slow-healing wound. Even a blister can cause unwanted complications.
For this reason, one of the best things you can do for your feet is to check your feet daily for any signs of sores, blisters, scratches, or cuts. Swift podiatric care can help you avoid the unwanted complications associated with ulcers and infections.
2. Wear the right pair of shoes
It’s important to keep your feet safe, and that includes protecting them from the dangers of walking barefoot. Your feet are less likely to get scratched or cut if you’re wearing shoes.
A good pair of shoes should:
- Fit well (tip: shop for new shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen)
- Allow for plenty of room in the toe box, which is especially true if you have bunions
- Have plenty of cushion
- Have laces (loafers don’t fit as well)
- Feature soft, flexible fabric
You might find that athletic shoes or walking shoes offer the support you need. If you’re unsure about which shoes are right for you, Dr. Forman can provide guidance based on your specific needs, including whether or not you’d benefit from custom orthotics. Orthotics can help distribute pressure evenly and help avoid sores.
Avoid any shoes that expose your feet (such as flip flops or sandals), are worn out, have thin soles, or are too rigid (which might rub and cause a blister.)
3. Choose the right socks
In addition to wearing the right pair of shoes, don’t forget to invest in the right socks too. Choose socks made of soft, breathable fabric. Your socks shouldn’t be tight or leave impressions on your skin. Wearing restrictive socks can further affect circulation in your feet. Look for socks without seams, as the seams can be irritating.
To prevent fungal infections, always change your socks if they become wet from weather conditions or after a workout.
4. Keep your nails trimmed
It might be tempting to cut your nails in a curve, but resist the temptation. Always trim your nails straight across and file the edges to keep them smooth. Avoid trimming your nails too short because that can increase your risk of developing an ingrown nail.
If you have concerns about your nails, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Forman. Whether you’re dealing with a nail infection or an ingrown nail, swift treatment can help prevent a small problem from escalating into a larger one.
5. Brush up on your foot care routine
It’s important to keep your feet clean and dry, whether you have diabetes or not. However, keeping these tips in mind can help you avoid foot ulcers and fungal infections:
- Wash and dry your feet daily, taking extra care to dry between your toes
- Moisturize your feet (especially your heals) but don’t apply lotion between your toes
- Be gentle when cleaning your feet (use a soft sponge and then pat dry)
Although exfoliating scrubs and rough pumice stones seem like a good option, scrubbing your feet too vigorously can leave small abrasions on your feet.
Schedule your regular foot exam
You don’t need to wait until the first sign of trouble to seek podiatric care. Periodic foot exams are an important part of your diabetic foot care. Not only does a foot exam give Dr. Forman a chance to spot any potential red flags, but it also gives you an opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns.
If you have questions about diabetic foot care or are concerned about foot wounds, we’re just a call or click away. You can reach our office in Scottsdale, Arizona, at 480-423-8400 or by visiting us here on the website while you’re online.