Diabetes and Foot Care: What To Know

By: Diabetes-- What To Know

For some people with diabetes, paying attention to their feet becomes especially important. When diabetes has not been well controlled, or sometimes when it has been present for a very long time, damage to the nerves, called neuropathy, can occur. This often first occurs in the feet, and is frequently unnoticed, as the most common symptom is loss of sensation. This is why your doctor should carefully check the sensation in your feet at least once a year. It is important that you know if there is any decrease in sensation, as this can put you at greater risk of problems with your feet. This numbness means that you may not notice the kind of foot problems which would usually cause you discomfort, and therefore come to your attention. So there are three things you need to do: First, you need to examine your feet, especially the bottoms of your feet, every day.

Pick a regular time, like after your shower or bath, before putting on your shoes, or before going to bed at night. You’re looking for blisters, breaks in the skin, bruises, redness, swelling, corns or calluses, ingrown toenails or changes in the shape of your foot. Run your hands lightly across your feet. Is everything smooth the way it should be? If it’s difficult to see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror to inspect them, or ask your partner to check them for you. If you see a small change in your foot, such as a blister or red area, watch it closely. If it becomes worse, or if there is no improvement in the next day, let your doctor know. If left untreated, even a small problem in your feet can lead to a major problem, as people with neuropathy also are slower to heal from injuries to their feet.

Second, you need to be more thoughtful about exposing your feet to potential problems. This means being careful to choose comfortable shoes that don’t constrict or rub your feet. You should avoid being barefooted at any time. Even at home, wear slippers or protective sandals to protect your feet and toes from injury. Third, talk to your doctor about how to trim your toenails, what kind of lotions or creams are safe for you to use, and whether you should also be under the care of a podiatrist—a specialist in foot care.

Simple attention to these three points can prevent complications such as foot ulcers and amputations. When it comes to your feet, the best medicine is an ounce of prevention. And that’s what you need to know about diabetes and taking care of your feet.

Diabetes and Foot Care: What To Know

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