Posts for tag: Diabetic Foot Care
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, find out why your foot health is something you shouldn’t mess with.
When you find out you have diabetes it might feel like everything has suddenly changed. Now there is so much more to think about when it comes to your health. You’ll be given lifestyle changes to adhere to. You may need to exercise more. You may need to change your diet; lose weight. Of course, it’s also important that you consider your foot health in all of this.
“Why?” you may ask. Well, seemingly innocuous foot problems for healthy individuals may not cause issues but it actually could cause serious complications for those with diabetes. Those with diabetes are prone to nerve damage, neuropathy and circulation problems, which can cause a loss of feeling in the feet. Plus, even the smallest of injuries can turn into something more serious if left untreated.
So, what should you do to keep your diabetic feet healthy? Fortunately, there is a simple list of things that you can do every day to ensure that your feet don’t experience problems:
- Examine your feet thoroughly everyday. This not only means the tops and sides but also the soles and in between your toes. If you are unable to do this yourself, turn to a friend or family member who can do it for you. Inspecting your feet daily will ensure that you catch a problem as quickly as possible.
- Call a podiatrist if you notice any cuts, wounds, sores, redness, ingrown toenails or other problems. It may seem a bit odd to call your foot doctor about such seemingly insignificant foot problems but it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry. They can tell you whether it warrants a trip to the office.
- Make sure to wash your feet everyday. Seems like a simple enough task, right? Just make sure you are actually spending time washing every area of your feet with soap and warm water. Dry your feet off completely once you get out of the shower.
- It’s important to keep feet from drying out and you can easily help keep feet feeling smooth by applying a moisturizer every day. You should do this once you get out of the shower and dry off your feet to help lock in the moisture.
- Wear socks and shoes everywhere, even if it’s indoors. Going barefoot could leave you prone to potential injury. This is particularly important if you have nerve damage or have lost sensation in your feet, as you may not know that you’ve stepped on something.
If you have diabetes it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can always turn to for the care you need whenever you need it most. Problems can arise suddenly and it’s important that you have a foot specialist you can trust in.
Patients who have uncontrolled diabetic symptoms and infections that affect the feet sometimes have to face the possibility of living with a missing toe. There are preventative therapies available to heal the feet before this happens, but in some unfortunate cases amputation of a toe is necessary. Here are some tips from podiatrists for how to adapt to a missing toe and still live a normal, active life.
Reasons for Missing Toes
One of the most common causes for complications related to the feet and toes is uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetic symptoms can cause foot ulcers, which are wounds that can become seriously infected and lead to the need for amputation of toes. Diabetes can also cause poor circulation, which starves the toes of the blood and oxygen needed to keep them healthy. The other common reason for a missing toe is a serious injury, such as a very heavy object falling on the foot.
Adapting to the Loss of a Toe
It’s true that you need your toes for balance and stability, but a missing toe is not the end of the world. Many people have learned to strengthen their other nine toes to walk and even run successfully. A podiatrist will likely recommend physical therapy and special exercises to help you to strengthen your muscles and adapt to a missing toe. Special shoes and toe fillers can be designed to provide you with the additional support you need. Prosthetics are also available to act as a toe replacement for athletes.
Protecting Your Feet and Toes
It’s important to take “steps” toward protecting your feet and toes to prevent future problems. Patients with diabetes must work closely with their doctor to get their blood glucose levels under control. That may include adopting a better diet, taking prescribed medication and checking blood sugar levels regularly. If you work at a job that puts your feet at risk, like construction or manufacturing, wear steeltoes boots or shoes at all times to protect your toes.
It is possible to live a normal life with a missing toe. Talk to your podiatrist if you have concerns about your feet—modern treatments and solutions are available to successfully relieve symptoms, strengthen your toes and bring your feet back to their full function.
With diabetes, even a small foot injury can mean major problems unless treated immediately.
If you have diabetes, simple issues like trimming your toenails, getting a blister from ill-fitting shoes, or nicking your ankle while shaving can cause a chain reaction of health problems. An estimated 25% of diabetics will deal with foot wounds and their complications; they are typically slow to heal and subject to infection, which can lead to expensive, long-term treatments to get it under control. Family Foot and Ankle Centers serving McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Reston is here to educate their diabetic patients about recognizing foot wound symptoms and how to prevent them from happening.
How do foot wounds develop?
Certain diseases and conditions make foot wounds very difficult to treat. For example, the minor injuries listed above don't usually cause any problems for people who have normal blood circulation. Diabetics, however, often have neuropathy (nerve damage) or restricted blood flow. Complications from food wounds often happen as a result of these conditions. When poor circulation is combined with increased blood glucose levels, feeling is reduced (or totally absent) in the extremities and healing is much slower. The wound, therefore, is at a much higher risk for ulceration and infection. In extreme cases, amputation may be the only way to stop the infection from spreading further.
What are the symptoms of diabetic foot wounds?
Pain is a not a typical sign for those with reduced feeling in the feet and ankles; the pain receptors are weakened and not a good indicator for diabetic foot wounds. Many patients first contact their McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Reston podiatrist after noticing stains on their socks from wound drainage. The area around the wound may be swollen and red. A foul odor may be present if the wound has been left to progress. Any time a diabetic person injures their foot, even if it seems insignificant, should immediately contact their podiatrist.
How do I prevent foot wounds?
Diabetic patients who are at risk for foot wound complications should take precautions to avoid any injuries to their feet and ankles. They should not walk around barefoot, both indoors and out. Wearing properly fitted and comfortable shoes is also important to prevent blisters. Your podiatrists also encourage their diabetic patients to practice excellent hygiene and inspect the feet and ankles daily for any cuts, bruises, redness or any other abnormalities.
If you do notice a foot wound developing, it's important to contact the podiatry team at Family Foot and Ankle Centers right away. Early treatment of foot wounds is the key to proper healing. Call your podiatrist at Family Foot and Ankle Centers in McLean at (703) 556-8637, Ashburn at (703) 723-9267, Fairfax at (703) 273-9818 and Reston at (703)723-2719. Or visit our website at familyfootandankle.com. Get some relief today and get back on your feet!