Diabetes is a growing epidemic that poses serious health risks for your feet. Excess, uncontrolled sugar in the bloodstream reduces and restricts blood flow in the feet and is poison for nerves in the lower extremities, and that combination leaves people with diabetes at greatly increased risk of sores and injuries that just won’t heal.
If you live with diabetes, it’s important to have a plan for healthy living and consistent, proactive foot care. Diabetic foot complications can be extremely serious—including serious wounds, foot deformities, and even amputations—and can rob you of your ability to work, enjoy your favorite activities, and even your mobility and independence. But if you take good care of your feet, they’ll take good care of you, too.
Important Things to Know About Diabetic Foot Care
Taking care of your feet and preventing diabetic foot complications doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require knowledge and perseverance. Here are some important components of your diabetic foot care plan:
- Work with your primary care physician to manage your diabetes and keep your sugar levels in check.
- Remain active and eat a healthy diet. Dr. Walters or your primary care physician can help you develop a plan or list of activities that works well for you.
- Examine your feet frequently—ideally every day. You can use a mirror to assist. Check for cuts, blisters, swelling, redness, toenail discoloration, or any other injuries. These issues should be addressed right away by Dr. Walters, especially if they’ve lingered for a few days without getting better.
- Clean your feet every day with soap and warm water, especially between your toes.
- Apply lotion or moisturizer every day to keep skin soft. The tops and bottoms of your feet are okay, but don’t go between the toes—it can lead to infection.
- Protect your feet from heat, cold, and accidental injury. Shoes and shocks should be worn at all times, even at home. You may benefit from custom diabetic shoes, which may be covered by your insurance or Medicare.
- Cut toenails straight across, rather than curved. If your toenails are thick and you have trouble cutting them yourself, let a podiatrist trim them.
Our Diabetic Foot Care Services
We provide a comprehensive approach to caring for diabetic feet, including (but not limited to):
- Diabetic foot checkups. We recommend these at least twice per year for people with diabetes, especially those with a history of foot problems. In addition to caring for issues like corns, calluses, and toenails, we’ll check your circulation and nerve function, help you with ideas for staying active and fit, and determine whether you would benefit from further preventative measures.
- Custom diabetic shoes. We offer custom fitting for specially designed diabetic shoes that help protect your feet and reduce the risk of developing skin breakdowns, ulcers, or other complications. The shoes will be made using a mold of your foot to provide a perfect individual fit.
- Wound care. When sores and ulcers won’t heal, prompt wound care is crucial. Otherwise, infection may set in, and ultimately force an amputation to protect healthy neighboring tissue. Wounds need to be cleaned of dead tissue and debris (debridement), protected and dressed, and weight offloaded so that your body has a chance to heal.
A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to slow you down. Dr. Daniel J. Walters in Garfield Ridge, Chicago is committed to helping people of all ages stay on their feet and lead active lifestyles, despite their diabetes. To set an appointment, please call us today at (773) 586-0050.