People living with diabetes commonly suffer from foot health problems. This is because having too much glucose in your blood for a long time can cause serious complications.
The good news is, the more informed you are about how diabetes impacts your foot health, the more you can reduce your risk of developing these afflictions yourself. Here are some of the best ways you can prevent diabetic foot problems before they can become an urgent health concern.
Wear Properly Sized Shoes and Fitted Socks
Many common diabetic foot health issues are caused by wearing ill-fitting or high-heeled shoes for long periods of time. These resulting problems can include diabetic foot ulcers and bunions. Diabetic foot ulcers occur in 15% of diabetes patients, whereas bunions occur in 30% of the population in western countries.
You can avoid these common diabetic foot problems by choosing comfortable shoes with thick soles. Experts recommend wearing shoes that are made either from canvas, leather or faux leather for optimal comfort.
You also want to avoid wearing sandals and flip-flops. These shoes can put uneven pressure on your feet and toes and offer little in the way of support. It’s also not recommended to go barefoot so you can better avoid blisters, cuts and sores. Diabetics often have reduced circulation, meaning less sensation in their feet and slower healing may result in undiscovered injuries that worsen and become infected.
The socks you wear are also important. Opt for socks that fit well and avoid any that bunch up around your toes or slide down your foot. Ill-fitted socks can cause uncomfortable rubbing, which can also increase your risk for diabetic foot ulcers. Tight socks, on the other hand, can further reduce circulation in the feet, which can lead to ulcers.
Always Keep an Eye on Your Feet
You can’t see the bottoms of your feet unless you make a conscious effort to look, which makes it easier for blisters, sores, and calluses to go undetected. Unfortunately, untreated sores and blisters can quickly turn into diabetic foot ulcers if you’re not careful. Examine your feet frequently, checking for redness and swelling, bleeding or blisters and drainage on socks.
Make sure that you check your feet often for any slow-healing cuts or sores. If you do notice these issues, be sure to take care of them quickly.
Visit Your Doctor and Podiatrist Often
It’s important to schedule regular appointments with your doctor and your podiatrist to have your feet professionally examined, particularly if any wounds or other medical concerns aren’t healing or are worsening. Diabetic foot health complications need to be seen and treated by a diabetic foot care specialist right away, especially since these issues are more likely to occur in and pose a higher risk to those with diabetes. Without professional care, ulcers can and will worsen. Mild cases that would have taken weeks to heal will then take months of treatment, dressing changes, possibly a cast or special footwear and more to heal properly. Severe cases can lead to infections, gangrene and at worst, amputation.
Approximately 3 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes and many will experience diabetes-related foot health problems like ulcers in their lifetime. Left untreated, these medical issues can cause infections and may even be life-threatening.
Looking for a professional diabetic foot care specialist?
The Dynamic Foot and Ankle Center has the experienced diabetic foot care specialists for you. For more information about diabetic foot health problems and how to treat them, contact Dynamic Foot and Ankle today.