One of the most serious concerns for patients with diabetes is foot ulcers. Up to 24% of diabetic patients who develop a foot ulcer will require an amputation. Conditions sometimes associated with diabetes make it difficult to detect and heal foot wounds. First, nerve damage may reduce sensation and make it difficult to perceive a foot ulcer until it is fully formed. Second, impeded circulation slows blood flow to the feet, which in turn makes healing difficult. The good news, however, is that diabetic foot ulcers are preventable, and at Texas Foot Specialists we want to help our patients avoid them. Observe the do’s and don’ts below to help minimize your chance of diabetic foot wounds:
Do: discuss your risk with one of our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum or Dr. Bruce Miller. Certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing a foot ulcer including being overweight and using alcohol and tobacco. Older men, patients using insulin and Native American, African American and Hispanic patients with diabetes are also in a higher risk category.
Do: make regular foot exams a part of your daily care. Ulcers typically form on the bottom of the foot, so if you cannot see the bottom of your foot, ask someone to help you. Look for red spots, lumps, rashes, blisters and cuts on your feet. If you find anything unusual, contact our Houston (713) 664-6677, Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 or Pasadena (281) 991-0600 office right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t: walk barefoot. This increases the chance of puncture wounds and tiny cuts in the bottom of your feet. It also exposes feet to fungal and bacterial infections which can become entry points for infection and cause wounds to develop.
Don’t: use electric blankets or expose feet to direct heat—if you have nerve damage you may not be able to accurately gauge how much heat your feet are receiving.
Do: keep your blood sugar under control and follow all your doctor’s instructions for managing your diabetes.
If you have diabetes and have questions about foot health care, contact us today.