Foot care is crucial for patients with diabetes, as it helps prevent serious complications like infections, ulcers, and even amputations. By prioritizing foot health, individuals with diabetes can maintain mobility — not to mention overall health.
Taking control of your foot health is a crucial step in managing diabetes and its potential complications. With expert advice at your fingertips, you can confidently navigate the challenges and prioritize the well-being of your feet.
At Florida Foot and Ankle in Jacksonville, Florida, podiatry specialist Dr. Mark Matey is devoted to providing top-quality foot and ankle care, and assists patients in taking the best care of their feet and ankles.
For patients with diabetes, Dr. Matey emphasizes the importance of good diabetic foot care. Explore our guide of practical and effective strategies to keep diabetes-related foot issues at bay.
Why worry about diabetes foot problems?
Diabetes raises the risk of nerve damage known as diabetic neuropathy. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances of developing diabetes-related nerve damage. Additionally, diabetes tends to cause diminished blood flow to the feet.
This combination can lead to numbness, infections, and ulcers that can quickly escalate into serious complications. Therefore, prioritizing foot care is a vital part of the battle against diabetes.
Expert tips for healthy feet when you have diabetes
Consider our top tips for taking excellent care of your feet to live well with diabetes.
Inspect your feet daily
Make a habit of examining your feet for redness, cuts, sores, blisters, or any other anomalies. Use a mirror or ask for help if you're unable to see certain areas. Early detection of issues can help prevent complications.
Keep your feet clean and dry
Wash your feet daily with lukewarm water and mild soap, making sure to avoid using abrasive scrubbers. After washing, thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes, as moisture can create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Moisturize to prevent dry skin
Apply a diabetes-friendly moisturizer to your feet daily, avoiding the areas between your toes. Dry skin can crack and create openings for infection, so keeping it soft and supple is a must.
Wear the right shoes
Invest in comfortable, well-fitting shoes with ample support and cushioning. Opt for diabetic footwear and avoid high heels, tight shoes, or pointy-toed options. Rotate your shoes every day to allow them to air out and retain their shape.
Embrace the sock life
Wear clean, dry socks made of moisture-wicking fabrics, like cotton or bamboo. Opt for seamless socks to prevent chafing and irritation. Avoid tight socks or elastics that can impede circulation.
Maintain trimmed toenails
Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges gently to prevent ingrown toenails. If you're unsure or have trouble, seek assistance from a podiatrist or healthcare professional.
Keep your blood sugar in check
Proper blood sugar control can minimize the risk of diabetic neuropathy and vascular problems. Work with your healthcare team to develop a diabetes management plan that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and medication, if needed.
Smoking narrows blood vessels and hinders blood flow to the extremities. Kicking the habit can significantly improve circulation and reduce the risk of foot problems.
Prioritize podiatrist visits
Schedule regular visits to your podiatrist, ideally every six months, or more frequently if you have existing foot problems. A podiatrist can monitor your foot health, identify issues early, and provide customized recommendations.
Be vigilant with wounds
If you develop a cut, blister, or sore, clean it gently and apply antibiotic ointment. Cover it with a sterile bandage and monitor its progress closely. If it doesn't heal or worsens, contact a foot and ankle specialist promptly.
Prioritize foot health
Don't let diabetes dictate the fate of your feet. Self-care is your best ally against diabetes-related complications.
For comprehensive diabetic foot care, give us a call to schedule a visit with Dr. Matey. Happy stepping!