Diabetes is a growing epidemic both at home and globally: an estimated 420 million people suffer from the disease worldwide, with about 30 million of them residing in the United States. Furthermore, around 90 million American adults—about 1 in 3—have prediabetes.
A diabetes diagnosis isn’t the end of the world—many people, including prominent athletes and actors, are able to live long, healthy lives despite the disease. In order to ensure a good outcome for yourself, though, you must be disciplined about taking care of your body, including daily foot care.
Feet are at high risk with diabetes for a number of reasons. Progressive nerve damage targeting the feet and hands may dull sensation, delaying your ability to identify an injury. Slowed circulation can weaken bones and muscles and impair your natural healing process, greatly increasing the risk of infection or chronic problems. Don’t underestimate the danger: diabetic foot wounds are by far the leading cause of non-traumatic amputations in the U.S. today.
That’s why regular foot care is so critical for those with diabetes. This includes keeping the feet clean and dry, and rigorously examining your entire foot (including hard-to-see areas like between toes) at least once per day to be sure no cuts, cracks, blisters, broken or infected toenails, or areas of redness and swelling are missed. Other daily tips include:
- Never go barefoot, even at home—wear socks and shoes that fit well and are comfortable and protective.
- Check the inside of your shoes for debris before putting them on.
- Trim toenails straight across and not too short.
- Protect feet from hot and cold. Test water or other surfaces with an elbow before exposing feet or hands.
- Use cream or lotion to keep skin soft and smooth and avoid cracked heels.
- Smooth corns and calluses with an emery board or pumice stone.
- Keep blood flowing to your feet. Avoid sitting cross-legged for extended periods of time and wiggle toes and ankles regularly throughout the day.
In addition to the regular home care, you should be visiting Associates in Podiatry at least once per year for a comprehensive diabetic foot care checkup. This will allow us to address any outstanding concerns, test for hidden complications, and determine whether or not additional treatments or tools (such as diabetic shoes) are appropriate for your situation.
Our goal is to keep your feet in the best possible health so that you can continue to live an active, healthy life free from complications. To schedule an appointment, please call us today at (609) 924-833 for Princeton or (908) 687-5757 for Roselle Park.