If you want to live well with diabetes, you need to take care of your feet. Elevated blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, which can affect the sensations and blood flow of your feet. Because of this, patients with diabetes are at risk for foot problems and serious complications.
That’s why everyone with diabetes should have a podiatrist as part of their care team. The team at Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists provides superior diabetic foot care and are devoted to helping you keep your feet as healthy as possible.
Diabetes and your feet
Having diabetes increases the risk of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when the arteries that supply the extremities sustain damage. This compromises blood flow and sensation in the legs and feet.
You’re more susceptible to infection if you don’t have a good blood supply, because blood contains platelets, which are rich in growth factors and proteins. A tiny cut or abrasion on your foot may develop into a diabetic foot ulcer, which is an open sore that is difficult to heal.
A foot ulcer can progress to the bone if not treated appropriately. If you have diabetes for a long time, you may develop nerve loss, which can reduce your ability to feel pain in your feet.
The following are some pointers to assist you in safeguarding your feet if you have diabetes.
See your podiatrist regularly
At Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists, we’re here to help you care for your feet. Regular checkups give us the opportunity to detect minor issues before they become major concerns. Our podiatrists have received specialized training in the treatment of diabetic foot and leg wounds and are your best resource in caring for your feet.
Check your feet daily
Make checking your feet a part of your daily self-care routine. Look for abrasions, cuts, corns, calluses, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Examine the bottoms of your feet with a mirror, and give us a call if you spot anything of concern.
Avoid bathing in hot water
If you enjoy taking baths, take care to check the temperature of the water. It is not uncommon for individuals with diabetes to accidentally scald their feet with hot water.
Practice good foot hygiene
Bring extra socks and change during the day if you're playing tennis or going on a long trek. Avoid leaving your feet in hot, sweaty socks and shoes for long periods of time.
Change your socks regularly and keep them clean and dry. Your provider may recommend wearing socks specially made for people with diabetes. These have looser elastic tops that do not restrict blood flow.
Choose the right shoes
You may enjoy wearing high heels, but most of them have narrow, pointed toes that squeeze the toes against each other and can create abrasions on the sides of your feet. Both men and women should wear flat shoes with a big toe box to provide their feet more room.
Protect your feet
Never go barefoot, even inside your home, because it can be very easy to cut the bottom of your foot. And while it can be enticing to walk barefoot at the beach, consider the shell fragments and other objects in the sand. Instead, wear comfortable, supportive shoes wherever you’re going, and make sure to check your shoes for small pebbles before putting them on.
Address corns and calluses with your podiatrist
Something as simple as shaving your own calluses can cause a slow-healing wound that puts your foot health at risk. If you come across a corn or callus, consult a podiatrist. Allow a foot and ankle specialist to treat a corn or callus on your foot. We can also clip your nails.
To get excellent podiatric care, book an appointment online or over the phone with Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists today. We have offices in University Park, Ellenton, and Bradenton, Florida.