Diabetes affects over 25 million Americans. This chronic disease results in a number of health issues, several of which particularly impact your feet. A weakened immune system, decreased circulation and neuropathy or loss of feeling all combine to make even seemingly minor injuries a major medical threat for diabetic patients.
At Great Neck Family Foot Care we suggest the following tips to protect and care for your feet:
- Do daily feet checks. This is particularly important if you have a decreased or lack of sensation in any part of your feet because you may not notice small cuts or injuries that could become wounds if untreated. Also look for changes in size, shape, and color of the skin on your feet as well as any rashes or growths.
- Have a hygiene regimen. Each day you should wash your feet and dry them completely, especially between the toes (moisture build up here could lead to athlete’s foot). Apply a moisturizer to your feet and heels to keep skin soft and prevent cracking.
- Trim nails. Cut nails straight across and not too short. Use an emery board to smooth rough edges but don’t round the corners as this may cause an ingrown toenail to develop.
- Make good shoe choices. For diabetic patients, it is particularly important that shoes fit well and are not tight in the toe box. Make sure that there is no area where the shoe rubs which could cause a blister. Check the inside of your shoes for loose stitching or rough spots.
- Don’t go barefoot. This will greatly reduce your chances of puncture wounds, stubbing your toes and other foot injuries.
- Seek medical treatment for common foot problems. Avoid home treatment for corns, calluses, warts, blisters, etc. Our board certified podiatrists, Alec Hochstein and Dr. Diana Gagliano, have years of experience in meeting the needs of patients with diabetes. Using products that involve tapes or sticky pads or attempting removal of any corns, etc. can result in skin damage that could create a wound.
- Maintain good circulation. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed, get regular exercise, don’t wear socks with tight elastic bands and don’t smoke. All of these will help maintain and improve your circulation.
If you have additional questions or concerns about how to care for your feet as a diabetic, contact our Great Neck office at: 516-482-5999 for an appointment. If you or a family member are unable to come into the office due to diabetic complications, we can come to you. Ask about our home visits.