Posts for: October, 2011
Diabetic Foot care: Top Ten Ways to Help Your Feet
By: Doctor Douglas M. Childs
Many foot problems are related to Diabetes. In fact, the complications of Diabetes often lead to wounds, infections, and even amputations. Here are a few helpful suggestions to help keep your feet healthy:
1. Don’t use pumice stones, medicated pads or files on your feet. Diabetes can cause a loss of sensation or numbness in the feet called neuropathy. The incorrect use of these tools and pads often leads to infections and even amputations. Call your podiatrist if you notice something on your feet that requires attention.
2. Wear Proper Shoes: Shoes and socks that fit properly can prevent foot problems. They can also keep existing problems from getting worse. When buying shoes, make sure that the toe box is roomy enough to allow you to wiggle your toes. Avoid open-toed or open-heeled shoes. Choose soft, padded socks with seams that don’t pinch or irritate your feet. Before putting on shoes or socks, inspect them for anything that could rub against your feet. In some cases, Diabetic shoes may be needed. Ask your podiatrist if you qualify for shoes through Medicare.
3. Check your feet daily: Inspect your feet and toes every day for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, calluses, or other problems. Use a mirror (laying a mirror on the floor works well). Notify your health care provider of any problems.
4. Check for Swelling: It may be a sign of poor blood flow or infection. Swelling may also be arthritis or even related to heart disease.
5. Get Your Circulation checked. You should get your circulation checked at least once a year. Non-Invasive tests can be done in the office to check for problems. Symptoms of poor circulation or PAD may include dull or cramping pain in your calf muscle or legs when walking, cold feet, loss of hair to the toes, or shiny skin.
6. Get Your Vitamins: Thiamine, Folic Acid, B6 and B12 all help to fight neuropathy. These vitamins are important in preventing numbness in the feet, but can become deficient due to some diabetic medications as well as with increased age.
7. Get rid of that dry skin: Dry, cracked skin leads to fissures and even wounds. Apply lotion daily, but not between your toes.
8. Quit Smoking: Diabetes is related to reduced blood flow to the skin and feet. If you smoke, you dramatically increase your risk of gangrene or Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).
9. Exercise: Exercising daily can help the blood flow into and out of your feet, as well as your flexibility. Special exercises for feet, as well as walking, swimming, and biking are good types of exercise. Call your doctor if exercising is uncomfortable, or if you notice warning signs such as redness, burning, or tenderness during or after exercise.
10. Control Your Diabetes: A good foot care program includes controlling your diabetes. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, monitor your blood sugar levels, take prescribed medications, and exercise daily. Regular checkups by your health care team can also help to control your diabetes. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to keep your blood sugars as closely controlled as possible, get regular exercise and keep your weight under control.
Diabetes doesn’t have to lead to serious foot problems. Your health care team can work with you to keep your feet healthy and treat any problems that occur. But remember: keeping your feet fit takes effort and commitment from the most important team member-you.
Routine Diabetic Foot Care Examinations performed by a Podiatrist are an important part of your health. Preventing problems is much easier that dealing with the problem later. An annual visit is recommended for all diabetics, but more frequent check-ups are often needed based on whether or not you have major risk factors, such as poor circulation, foot deformities (like bunions or hammertoes), or loss of sensation. If you are due for an exam, give Orlando Foot & Ankle Clinic a call at 407-423-1234.