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Diabetic Foot Problems and Treatment

 

Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet, even a small cut could have serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection.

Because of these problems, you might not notice a pebble in your shoe and you could develop a blister, then a sore, then an infection that might lead to amputation of your toe, foot, or leg. To avoid serious foot problems that could lead to amputation(s), be sure to follow these guidelines or consult a podiatrists for more information.

Guidelines for Diabetes Treatment:

•Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call a foot doctor (podiatrists) if you notice anything.

•Wash your feet in lukewarm (not hot!) water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily, but only use lukewarm water (the temperature you’d use on a newborn baby).

•Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and make sure to carefully dry between the toes.

•Moisturize your feet, but not between your toes. Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But DON’T moisturize between the toes, this could encourage a fungal infection/athletes’s foot.

•Never trim corns or calluses. No “bathroom surgery,” let your doctor do the job.

•Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily.

•Avoid the wrong type of socks. Avoid tight elastic bands (they reduce circulation). Don’t wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin).

•Wear socks to bed. If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. NEVER use a heating pad or hot water bottle.

•Shake out your shoes and inspect the inside before wearing. Remember, you may not feel a pebble, so always shake out your shoes before putting them on.

•Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t get your feet wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.

•Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.

•Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.

•Don’t smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.

•Get periodic foot exams. See your podiatrists on a regular basis for an examination to help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.   If you find anything wrong with your feet, see a podiatrists immediately.

This information has been prepared by the Consumer Education Committee of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, a professional society of 5,700 podiatric foot and ankle surgeons. Members of the College are Doctors of Podiatric Medicine who have received additional training through surgical residency programs. The mission of the College is to promote superior care of foot and ankle surgical patients through education, research and the promotion of the highest professional standards.  Copyright © 2004, American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons • www.acfas.org