Approximately 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes develop neuropathy. This nervous system damage is a serious complication that may cause diabetics to lose feeling in their feet or hands. Diabetes decreases blood flow, so injuries are slow to heal. Infections spread quickly. Because a wound as small as a blister can cause damage, diabetics must constantly monitor their feet for injuries or face severe consequences, including amputation. Dr. Basso warns,
If you are one of the millions of people in the U. S. with diabetes, it is important to get regular foot examinations in order to maintain healthy feet and a strong body.Dr. Basso
Diabetic patients should inspect their feet every day to look for puncture wounds, bruises, pressure areas, redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts, and nail problems. “This inspection is so important that it’s a good idea to have someone to help you, or use a mirror to be able to see our feet from all angles,” adds the expert podiatrist.
Can diabetics protect their feet?
Patient education is a priority at my practice. I ensure that every diabetic patient understands how to properly take care of their feet. Protective strategies include:
- Always keep your feet warm.
- Don’t get your feet wet in snow or rain.
- Don’t put your feet on radiators or in front of the fireplace.
- Don’t smoke or sit cross-legged. Both decrease blood supply to your feet.
- Don’t soak your feet.
- Don’t use antiseptic solutions, drugstore medications, heating pads, or sharp instruments on your feet.
- Trim your toenails straight across. Avoid cutting the corners. Use a nail file or emery board. If you find an ingrown toenail, contact our office.
- Use quality lotion to keep the skin of your feet soft and moist, but don’t put any lotion between your toes.
- Wash your feet every day with mild soap and warm water.
- Wear loose socks to bed.
- Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
- When drying your feet, pat each foot with a towel and be careful between your toes.
- Buy shoes that are comfortable without a “breaking in” period. Check how your shoe fits in width, length, back, bottom of
heel, and sole. Avoid pointed-toe styles and high heels. Try to get shoes made with leather upper material and deep toe boxes. Wear new shoes for only two hours.
What kinds of diabetic wound care do you provide?
Careful treatment of even the smallest wound is essential for diabetic patients.
Thorough cleaning of the wound is essential. This includes careful rinsing in running water until dirt is removed. Typical antiseptics like antibacterial soap, peroxide, or iodine are avoided, because they can cause irritation. I apply the appropriate antibiotic ointment to prevent infection, and apply a sterile dressing to the wound.
Don’t take any chances with foot or ankle wounds if you are diabetic. Please do not hesitate to ask us to check even minor redness or skin problems. Following any wound care, you can help the wound to heal by avoiding pressure on it and ensuring your bandages are changed regularly.