Diabetes is certainly a complicated illness and keeping your blood sugar levels stable while trying to cope with side effects like peripheral can sometimes feel overwhelming. Since November is Diabetes Awareness month, we're here to help you cope with some of the fear you may be experiencing by breaking down your daily foot care routine into a simple, easy to follow guideline.
Help: I Have Diabetes. How Can I Protect My Feet?
Don’t despair! You don't have to change your entire life in order to protect your feet from diabetes. In fact, here are six easy changes, courtesy of the American Podiatric Medical Association, that you can make in your life RIGHT NOW. While they not particularly difficult to do, they will make a significant step towards protecting your diabetic foot health. Read on!
* Inspect your feet every day, checking the entire foot and all 10 toes for cuts, bruises, sores or any sign of changes to the toenails, including thickening or a change in or loss of color. Not sure how to start? Here's how to conduct a visual diabetic foot exam, according to the Journal of Family Practice: Carefully examine the areas between the toes, where deeper sores may go unnoticed. Look all over the surface of your skin and, in addition to cuts or sores, look for areas of hair loss as they may be spots where circulation has been compromised. Treat wounds immediately and come into my office if any issue doesn’t resolve in a day or two.
* Walk whenever you can—it’s an easy way to get exercise, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your circulation. Always choose footwear that’s appropriate for the activity in which you are engaging. Walking and running sneakers are constructed differently for a reason: your foot needs different forms of support for the two different activities. Be sure to choose a shoe that will care for your foot appropriately.
* When you buy new shoes, have them properly measured and fitted every time, as your foot shape changes over time and the socks you wear can affect your fit. There are special shoes, socks and custom orthotics specifically designed for diabetics, many of which are even covered by Medicare!
* Always keep your feet covered, even when you’re walking around the house. Never go barefoot--the risk of cuts and infection is just too high.
* See a podiatrist to remove calluses, corns and even warts – don’t try to treat them at home with over-the-counter products, because these can burn your skin and injure your foot. Only a podiatrist should treat skin problems for diabetic’s feet, as any one of these conditions, if not properly treated, can become a limb-threatening foot ulcer.
* Get foot checkups at least twice a year, since a comprehensive exam from your podiatrist is the only way to really protect your feet.
If you are living in American Fork and need to schedule your comprehensive foot exam, contact Dr. Brandt Gibson’s office today!