As well as being so subtle that it is known as a “Silent Killer,” Diabetes offers an additional challenge in as much as it tends to manifest itself with other ailments throughout the body. One of the areas that a Diabetic needs to be especially aware of, and careful about, is their feet.
There are, unfortunately, a number of ways that Diabetes can adversely affect your feet. The first is through nerve damage, which is often referred to as Neuropathy (I will discuss Neuropathy in greater detail in a subsequent Blog!). In the most basic of terms, you will be plagued with tingling and pain in your feet, or the loss of feeling. The latter becomes a real issue as you may not notice minor damage to your foot, such as a blister, which can lead to cuts and sores that then may become infected, creating a problem all of its own.
As well as Neuropathy, Diabetes can decrease blood flow to your feet. Without proper blood flow, your feet can deteriorate to the point that gangrene sets in. If unattended long enough, this, in turn, can lead to the necessity for amputation.
Obviously the importance of proper foot care is paramount to a Diabetic’s Health. In an effort to ensure that your feet are properly cared for, the things you should pay special attention to include, but are not limited to:
- Trim your toenails properly.
- Smooth Corns and Calluses gently.
- Wear shoes and socks at all times!
- Keep proper Blood Flow to your feet.
- Wash, and check!, your feet daily.
- Get a foot check at every Health Care Visit.
When it comes to foot care, what many Diabetics do not realize is the importance of proper Corn and Callus care. For example, you should NOT use either Corn Plasters or liquid Corn and Callus Removers.
While Diabetics may desire to be Fashion Plates as much as the rest of the population, when it comes to footwear they would be wise to forego appearance for better health. There ae some shoes that just do not lend themselves to the physical well-being of a Diabetic. As you purchase shoes in the future, keep the following in mind:
- Avoid Plastic and/or Vinyl shoes, as they neither stretch nor breathe.
- Walking and/or athletic shoes are good for “Daily Footwear,” as they allow your feet to breathe as well as giving them support.
- Feet with Bunions or Hammertoes typically require extra wide shoes.
One of the main ways to protect our feet is to be cognizant of ways to keep them provided with proper blood flow. This can be accomplished, in part, by putting your feet up when you are seated; eliminating the use of tight socks and/or elastic stockings; being physically active, up to and including wiggling your toes throughout the course of a day.
Understanding the importance of proper Foot Care for my Diabetic Patients, one of the goals of AVEON HEALTH was to include a Podiatrist as part of our staff. In mid-2018 we were able to do just that. In Dr. Steven Tager we found a professional with some fifty years of experience that is on hand to add expertise and treatment to those in need. I would especially suggest that you request meeting with him should you have a cut or bruise on your feet that does not seem to be healing; the skin on your foot is red, warm or painful, as this is often the sign of an infection; a foot infection that becomes black and smelly, as that may be indicative of gangrene.
As you can see, making sure your feet “Measure Up” is a pretty important part of your physical well-being! As my high school Biology Teacher used to say, “Support your feet because they Support you!” Back then, I thought it was just a joke, but now I understand the importance of what he was trying to tell us!
This Blog was written in part with information found at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/ overview/preventing-problems/foot-problems.
If you, or someone you know, needs help in managing their Diabetes, please call AVEON HEALTH at 480-300-4663 to make an appointment with Dr. Sam and allow him to escort you down the path to an improved quality of life for you and/or your loved ones!