The end of the year is quickly approaching, and once the Halloween merchandise gets pulled off the shelves of retail stores, it will be quickly replaced with Christmas and other holiday items. It seems like we’re always rushing through the holiday season and perpetually making this one of the most stressful times of the year.
So what do we do to solve this? Lists upon lists upon lists!
There’s one for all the items you need to buy for Thanksgiving dinner, one for your travel arrangements during the holidays and, of course, one for all the gifts you have yet to buy for Christmas … you get the picture.
But aside from keeping yourself organized for the upcoming holidays, lists can also be particularly beneficial for those of you who live with diabetes and have to take steps every day to stay on top of a diabetic foot care plan.
This usually means taking measures to protect the feet, identifying issues early, and receiving treatment to handle any problems as soon as possible. These are all necessary steps for anyone who wants healthy feet, but they are absolutely essential for individuals who live with diabetes.
Here, you will find everything you need to know about diabetic foot care, including a list of what you should look for when performing your daily foot inspection and how you can best protect your lower limbs from developing serious complications.
But Why is Diabetic Foot Care So Important?
The main reason is that diabetes places affected individuals at heightened risk for major medical complications – some of which could ultimately lead to limb amputation!
Diabetes often damages nerves, reduces blood flow to the lower extremities, and impairs the immune system. Because of this, it is possible for many diabetic individuals to sustain a minor injury, be unaware of it, and then not receive necessary treatment.
And when left untreated, infection can set in and thrive—and given the body’s impaired ability to fight it, an injury will progressively worsen. This can result in cases of gangrene (tissue death), deformities like Charcot foot, and painful ulcers, all of which are serious medical complications.
Fortunately, with a comprehensive foot care plan, you can prevent these scary outcomes by staying one step ahead. A robust checklist will provide you with some direction and guide you toward the best path for catching an issue early at its most treatable stage!
A List for Your Daily Foot Inspection
Here are some things you should look for when performing your daily foot inspection:
- Scratches, cuts and/or abrasions. These create a doorway for microorganisms that can lead to a dangerous infection.
- Ulcers. When cuts or scrapes heal slowly, infection can lead to non-healing ulcers – the top cause of diabetic limb amputation.
- Dry skin and/or cracks. Skin that fissures due to excessive dryness provides another entrance point for bacteria and viruses.
- Blisters. A burst blister creates infection risk. Do not try to pop one yourself – see us instead!
- Calluses and/or corns. These skin conditions can break down and become diabetic ulcers.
- Warts. The source of plantar warts is viral infection. We can provide the necessary treatment.
- Ingrown and/or discolored toenails. Ingrown nails can grow into the skin and lead to infection, whereas discolored nails indicate a present fungal infection.
When you find any of these conditions – or any other abnormalities with regard to color, texture, or temperature – schedule the earliest possible appointment with our office. The sooner you address the problem, the easier it will be to get rid of it.
A List for Your Daily Diabetic Foot Care
Aside from checking your feet every day, you should also take measures to protect your feet. The good news is that caring for your lower limbs can be fairly easy – all you have to do is stick to a daily routine and make sure to follow instructions from start to finish every day.
Here are some good foot care suggestions you should follow:
- Exercise regularly to promote good circulation.
- Wash and dry your feet thoroughly every day.
- Use moisturizer to keep skin supple – but avoid areas between the toes.
- Wear properly fitting shoes with ample room for the toes.
- Wear diabetic shoes or customized orthotics as prescribed.
- Alternate pairs of shoes to avoid pressure points.
- Wear clean, dry socks without tears or irritating seams.
- Wear shoes when indoors and outdoors to avoid injury.
- If you smoke, stop – cigarettes hinder peripheral circulation.
- Control your blood sugars, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- Cut your toenails the right way – use clean tools and trim toenails straight across.
Now, we know it’s easier said than done. But paying the price for not keeping up with your foot care can mean losing a limb.
You should also keep in mind that regular visits to a foot doctor are another huge aspect of caring for diabetic feet. We recommend diabetic patients schedule at least one foot check appointment per year. Depending on your condition, we may recommend you check in with us more often.
If you are looking for a comprehensive foot care plan, or would like to make an appointment at our office, please don’t hesitate to call us at (727) 399-7167 today. You can also reach out to us via our handy online request form, and a member of our staff will contact you shortly.