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Diabetes is a serious condition which can affect your whole body. Not only do you have to manage your blood sugar, but you must take special care to prevent damage to your feet. Diabetic patients who suffer cuts to the feet are at risk for infection which can lead, in the most severe cases, to amputation. Taking proper care of your feet is essential if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
How Diabetes Affects the Feet
Diabetes doesn’t affect the feet directly. In other words, you are not in danger of losing your feet simply because you have been diagnosed as diabetic. This is a popular misconception. Instead, diabetes can cause nerve damage and a reduction in blood flow to the extremities. Because of these two issues, you are in danger of foot complications.
Nerve damage can make it difficult to know when you have a foreign object in your shoe. Your continued movement despite the foreign object could cause a blister. You may also find it easier to cut your foot without being aware that you have done so. Reduced blood flow means that it can be harder for an injury to your foot to heal or resist infection.
To avoid these issues with your feet, doctors recommend the following:
Inspect Your Feet
Take a close look at your feet every day. Look for cuts, swelling, redness and even nail problems. Use a magnifying glass to look closely at the bottom of your feet. Don’t forget to look in between your toes. Alert your doctors to any issues you notice.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Excessive moisture can encourage fungal growth which can lead to complications. Keep your feet as dry as possible at all times. Dry your feet by blotting or patting them when you get out of the shower, drying between your toes as well. Wear clean, dry socks, and be sure to change your socks every day. If you walk through water, remove your shoes and socks, dry your feet and replace your wet socks with dry ones. You may want to consider purchasing and wearing socks that have been designed specifically for patients with diabetes.
You will want to keep your feet moisturized to prevent drying, cracking and itching. When you are applying moisturizer, avoid the areas between your toes. This skin does not absorb lotion well and will leave your skin open to fungal infections.
Avoid Walking Barefoot
Again, because of nerve damage, you could step on something without realizing it and cut or puncture the bottom of your foot. Wear slippers or shoes at all times. Going barefoot may feel great on your skin, but it is a risk you don’t need to take.
Inspect Your Shoes
Always inspect your shoes before you put them on. As previously mentioned, a foreign object in your shoe may go unnoticed and cause serious problems. Tips your shoes over, shake them out and run your fingers along the inside. Remove any objects, no matter how small, from the insides of your shoes before you put them on.When you are diagnosed with diabetes in Salt Lake City, you are at an increased risk for foot problems. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced podiatrist, reach out to Dr. Elizabeth Auger.