Tuesday, October 24, 2017
   
Text Size

November is American Diabetes Month.  It is estimated that 21 million Americans have diabetes...

More than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.  Having a comprehensive foot care program can reduce amputation rates by 45% to 85%.   This includes seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis to perform an exam and treat any problems.  For patients who are at risk for ulceration, treatment of the nails and calluses can be performed.  Extra depth shoes and insoles are also available for patients who are at risk for foot ulceration.

Between examinations and treatment by your podiatrist, several things can be performed at home to protect your feet. These tips are not only good for diabetics to follow, but for everyone.

1. Examine Your Feet Daily: Use your eyes and hands, use a mirror to help observe the bottom of your feet, or have a family member help. Be sure to check between your toes.  If you notice any danger signs, call a doctor. Danger signs include the following- swelling, redness, blisters, cuts, scratches, bleeding, nail problems, maceration or drainage.

2. Examine Your Shoes Daily: Check the insides of your shoes, using your hands, for any irregularities such as rough areas, seams and for any foreign objects such as stones or tacks.  

3. Daily Washing and Foot Care:  Wash your feet daily, avoid water that is too hot or too cold. Dry off the feet thoroughly after washing, especially between the toes.  If your skin is dry, use a small amount of moisturizer on the feet but avoid placing the moisturizer between the toes.      

There are many things that you should not do since they are dangerous for your feet.  You should not walk barefoot since sharp objects or rough surfaces can cause cuts, blisters, and other injuries.  This includes not walking barefoot in your home.   You should not use heat on your feet since heat can cause a serious burn; this includes the use of a heating pad and soaking your feet in hot water.  Do not use any chemical or sharp instruments to trim your calluses because this could cause cuts and blisters.

Most importantly, see your podiatrist on a regular basis.  Call your doctor if you have any concerns or notice any changes to your feet.