DIABETIC FOOT CARE
A Comprehensive Guide
to Diabetic Foot Care
A Comprehensive Guide
to Diabetic Foot Care
DIABETIC FOOT CARE SERVICES OFFERED
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Glucose is a crucial source of energy for the cells in our body, and its levels are tightly controlled by the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. In individuals with diabetes, there are issues with insulin production, utilisation, or both, leading to high blood sugar levels.
There are two main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes: This results from the immune system mistakenly attacking and destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes require insulin injections or an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
- Type 2 Diabetes: This is more common and typically develops when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, or when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. It is often associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of physical activity, and genetics. It may be managed with lifestyle changes, oral medications, and, in some cases, insulin.
WHY IS DIABETIC FOOT CARE IMPORTANT?
Diabetic foot care is of paramount importance, particularly from the perspective of our foot doctor, due to the unique challenges individuals with diabetes issue.
Here are main reasons why diabetic foot care is crucial:
- Neuropathy Risk: Diabetes can cause nerve damage (neuropathy), especially in the feet. Neuropathy may lead to loss of sensation, making it difficult for individuals to detect injuries or diabetic feet. A foot doctor emphasises the need for regular foot examinations to identify potential issues early.
- Circulation Concerns: Diabetes can affect blood circulation, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the feet. Poor circulation impairs the body's ability to heal, increasing the risk of infections and complications. Our foot doctor monitors circulation and provides interventions to optimise blood flow.
- Foot Ulcer Prevention: Reduced sensation and compromised healing can lead to the development of foot ulcers. A foot doctor plays an important role in educating individuals with diabetes about proper foot hygiene, footwear choices, and preventive measures to minimise the risk of ulcers.
- Customized Care: Diabetic foot care is not one-size-fits-all. Foot specialists recognize the importance of individualised care plans, including custom orthotics and footwear, tailored to address the unique needs and challenges presented by each patient.
- Patient Education: Empowering individuals with diabetes with knowledge is a cornerstone of diabetic feet. Foot specialists educate patients on self-examination, proper foot care practices, and the importance of seeking prompt medical attention for any foot-related concerns.
In essence, diabetic feet, when overseen by our foot doctor, goes beyond treating immediate issues—it focuses on proactive measures to prevent complications, preserve foot health, and enhance overall quality of life for individuals living with diabetes.
CAN I PREVENT DIABETES-RELATED FOOT PROBLEMS?
Certainly, taking proactive steps can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes-related foot problems.
Here are key measures to help prevent diabetes-related foot problems:
- Control your blood sugar levels: This is the most important thing you can do to prevent diabetes-related foot problems. When your blood sugar levels are high, it can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your feet. This can lead to a number of problems, including neuropathy, poor circulation, and dry skin.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can put extra pressure on your feet and increase the risk of diabetic foot problems. Losing even a small amount of weight can help to reduce your risk of diabetic foot problems.
- Get regular exercise: Exercise can help to improve blood flow to your feet and make them stronger. On most days of the week, try to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes: Shoes that are too tight or too loose can rub against your feet and cause blisters or sores. Shoes that don't have enough support can also cause pain and discomfort.
- Regular Medical Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with a team of Platte River Foot and Ankle Surgeons, including foot doctor. These professionals can identify potential issues early on and provide guidance on preventive measures.
By incorporating these diabetic foot care practices into your daily routine and working closely with your healthcare team, you can actively participate in preventing diabetic foot problems and promoting overall foot health. Regular communication with our foot doctor is key to addressing any concerns and adjusting your care plan as needed.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN DIABETIC FOOT CARE?
Diabetic foot care is a crucial aspect of diabetes management, aiming to prevent diabetic foot problems and complications that might arise from the condition. It encompasses a range of practices that promote healthy feet and reduce the risk of foot infections and other issues.
Essential Elements of Diabetic Foot Care:
- Daily Foot Inspection: Regularly examine your feet for any cuts, sores, blisters, redness, swelling, or other abnormalities. Early detection can lead to prompt treatment of diabetic feet and prevent further complications.
- Proper Foot Hygiene: Wash your feet daily with mild soap and warm water, paying close attention to the spaces between your toes. Dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, to prevent moisture buildup and fungal infections.
- Moisturizing: Keeping your feet moisturised helps prevent dryness, cracking, and the formation of calluses. Use a fragrance-free lotion or cream specifically designed for diabetic feet.
- Toenail Care: Trim your toenails straight across using sharp clippers. Avoid cutting them too short or rounding the corners, as this can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
- Appropriate Footwear: Choose comfortable, well-fitting shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. Avoid tight-fitting shoes, high heels, and shoes with open toes.
- Blood Sugar Control: Maintaining good blood sugar control is essential for overall diabetic foot care and reducing the risk of foot complications. Work with your healthcare provider to develop a personalised blood sugar management plan.
- Regular Foot Exams: Schedule regular foot exams with your healthcare provider or a podiatrist. These exams allow for early detection of diabetic foot problems and prompt intervention.
Remember, diabetic foot care is an ongoing process that requires consistent attention and self-care. By following these recommendations and working closely with our foot and ankle specialist, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetic foot problems and maintain healthy feet for upcoming years.