If you have diabetes, you may also have diabetic foot problems. Caring for your feet is important so you don’t cause further complications. If you’ve noticed pain or other problems due to diabetic foot issues, you can take steps at home to ensure your feet are well taken care of, including keeping your blood glucose levels under control.
David E. Biss, DPM, our board-certified podiatrist at Concord Podiatry in Concord and Plymouth, New Hampshire, offers a full range of podiatric services, and he specializes in diabetic foot care. Here, he offers important tips to help you ensure your feet are well cared for.
Diabetes is a disease that directly impacts your blood glucose, which is a main source of your energy that comes from the food you eat. That’s why eating a well-balanced diet is so important.
Insulin, the hormone produced in your pancreas, helps get glucose from your food and into your body. When your blood sugar is too high, your body may not produce enough insulin, meaning your cells are not getting the proper amount of glucose. You may develop issues with weight management, stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and circulation — which puts your feet at risk.
If your blood sugar levels are too high over the long term, it can lead to a condition called diaabetic neuropathy, which causes damage to your nerves and blood vessels, including in your feet.
If your diabetes goes untreated or isn’t managed properly, you may lose sensation in your feet, develop sores and infections more easily, or, in more serious cases, be unable to walk. Diabetic patients who also have ulcers are 6% more likely hospitalized due to infection or other ulcer-related complications.
Steps you can take to care for your feet
There are several lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to help manage your condition. When you have diabetes, it’s important to take steps to keep your condition under control and pay particular attention to your feet so you avoid more serious problems.
Check your blood sugar
When you have diabetes, getting proper nutrition, making time for exercise, and managing your blood sugar levels are critical to keeping your blood sugar under control. Check your blood sugar regularly — when you first wake up, before you eat or drink anything, before a meal, at least two hours after a meal and at bedtime — to ensure you’re managing your condition well.
Clean and check your feet daily
Wash your feet using mild soap and lukewarm water to ensure no infections develop. Dry your feet thoroughly, including between your toes. Check your feet daily for sores, blisters, and redness — these are indicators that you may have developed problems, such as infection — and see your doctor right away if you notice any issues.
Use appropriate footwear
A close-toed shoe or slipper is the preferred shoe for patients with diabetic neuropathy. Proper shoes protect your feet from damage that can lead to sores and infection. Change your socks daily. In some cases, custom orthotics may be useful to ensure your feet have proper support.
Partner with a diabetic foot care specialist
Regular, thorough foot examinations are important so your doctor can detect diabetic foot problems early. Visit Dr. Biss for routine foot exams and foot care, including treatment for corns or calluses, toenail trimming, and care for any foot problems that arise.
To learn more about taking care of your feet if you have diabetes, or if you need treatment, contact Concord Podiatry by calling the location convenient to you for an appointment today.