November is National Diabetes Month! Having diabetes can increase your risk of foot issues and complications. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that can take away the feeling in your feet. Blood flow to the feet may also be reduced, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. Other foot problems that can lead to serious complications for those with diabetes are corns, calluses, hammertoes, bunions, ingrown toenails, infections, and ulcers. Some serious foot problems can even lead to amputations of a toe, foot, or leg. The good news is, there are things you can do to help lower your risk and keep your feet healthy and strong! By following these foot care guidelines by The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, you can help prevent complications of the foot due to diabetes.
- Daily Foot Inspections– Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet. Careful inspection of your feet on a regular basis is one of the easiest, least expensive and most effective measures for preventing foot complications. By examining your feet daily, and after every injury, you are taking a crucial step to preventing serious foot problems. Call your Podiatrist if you notice any changes in temperature, skin color, pain, or swelling. These could be warning signs of poor circulation or loss of sensation that could potentially lead to something more serious.
- Wash Feet Daily– Always use lukewarm, never hot, water to keep your feet clean. Use a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes.
- Moisturize Your Feet Daily– Using a moisturizer can keep dry skin from itching or cracking. Don’t moisturize in between the toes, that can cause a fungal infection.
- Cut Nails Carefully– Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, this can cause ingrown toenails. Call your Podiatrist if you have issues with your nails.
- No Bathroom Surgeries– Never treat corns or calluses yourself with “bathroom surgeries” or medicated pads. Your Podiatrist can help you with the appropriate treatment for you.
- Change Socks Daily– Always make sure you are wearing clean dry socks.
- Wear Socks to Bed– If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use heating pads or hot water bottles on your feet if you have diabetes.
- Consider Socks Made for People with Diabetes– These socks do not have elastic tops, have extra custhioning, are higher than the ankle, and are made from moisture wicking material.
- Inspect Shoes– Your feet may not be able to feel things that may have fallen in your shoes. Always shake them out and feel the inside before putting them on.
- Keep Your Feet Warm and Dry– Wear warm socks and shoes in the winter. If your feet get wet in snow or rain, change them as soon as possible.
- Always Wear Shoes– Never walk barefoot even at home. Always wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes or slippers to prevent stepping on something and getting a cut.
- Take Care of Yourself- Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Don’t Smoke– Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.
- Use Antiperspirant on Feet if Needed– If you have excessive sweating on your feet, antiperspirant can help.
- Have Periodic Foot Exams– This is so important for those with diabetes. Make an appointment with your Podiatrist on a regular basis can help prevent foot complications of diabetes.
If you have diabetes, contact Dr. Kylin Kovac and Dr. Jed Erickson at Idaho Foot & Ankle Center. They play a critical role in the prevention and management of complications of the foot in those with diabetes. Diabetes is serious, especially when your feet are involved. Early detection and simple care are just a few things that can be done to control and prevent complications as they arise. By following these guidelines, you can keep your feet safe, strong, and healthy!