At Texas Foot Specialists, we know that diabetes poses some very serious threats to the health of your feet. This disease, which affects over 25 million Americans, can lead to a decreased functioning of the immune system, decreased circulation and neuropathy (a loss of feeling). The combination of these conditions means that any injuries to the feet can have devastating consequences. Infections can be very slow and difficult to heal and may, in the worst case scenario, lead to a bone or body infection and even amputation. If you or someone you love has diabetes, here are some ways to minimize the risk and prevent injury and infection to your feet:
- Start by meeting with one of our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum or Dr. Bruce Miller. The foot doctor will do an assessment which can serve as a baseline for monitoring your feet going forward. Regular podiatric exams should be part of your diabetes care regimen and the foot doctor can help you determine an appropriate schedule of appointments.
- Do a daily check of your feet (or have someone else do for you if you can’t see your entire foot). One way to protect your feet from developing sores or ulcers is to detect potential problems at their earliest stages. Any dry skin, redness, rash, bumps, etc. should be examined by the foot doctor right away before they have a chance to develop into an open sore.
- Wear shoes made of soft, natural materials with roomy toe boxes and low heels. Check the insides of your shoes regularly to make sure there is no loose stitching or fabric that could rub on your skin and form a blister—if you have neuropathy you may not feel the initial irritation until it is progressed to a full blister.
- Do not use a heating pad or electric blanket on your feet and always check the temperature of the water you are using to clean your feet—again, lack of adequate sensation can lead to unintentional burns.
- Choose socks that are made of absorbent cotton and change them whenever they get damp, even if that means more than once a day. Keeping feet dry helps prevent athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.
To learn more about how to be proactive about the health of your feet if you have diabetes, contact our Houston (713) 664-6677, Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 or Pasadena (281) 991-0600 office.