How to Be Proactive About Diabetic Foot Care
When a foot or ankle problem arises, we treat it. But do you know what is even better than treatment, especially when diabetes is a factor?
Because diabetes can greatly increase the risk of severe complications from wounds and other foot problems, the best option is always to address them as soon as possible – and that includes before they even have a chance to occur.
No, this is not some futuristic “Tom Cruise in Minority Report” style of foot care. It’s just taking simple steps to determine potential risk factors and greatly reduce their chances of causing damage. That should be the foundation of any good diabetic foot care plan.
How Diabetes Can Cause So Much Trouble for Your Feet
Under normal circumstances, our feet are already at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with injuries:
- It is more challenging for blood to supply the feet than other areas of the body, thanks to their distance from the heart. Cells need nutrients and growth factors in blood to conduct repairs, so any impediment to this flow can lengthen recovery time.
- You probably don’t look at your feet closely that often. Again, thank their location. It’s easier to see (and then deal with) injuries on our arms, knees, and even faces than it is on the bottoms of our feet. We often rely mainly on our sense of touch to determine when something bad has happened down there.
Complications from diabetes (as well as conditions that interfere with circulation) can create a nightmare scenario on those above fronts:
- By impeding circulation, injuries to the feet take longer to heal. It can even reach a point where next-to-no healing occurs at all without intervention.
- Nerves in the feet become damaged, which can eventually result in a loss of sensation. An injury can happen on your foot, and you may not even know it happened.
When these factors combine, even a small cut that goes unnoticed can widen and deepen as you continue to walk on it, eventually becoming an ulcer. The longer this goes on, the higher the probability it can become infected – and that leads to a whole greater host of problems.
This is the type of situation we aim to prevent. If you have diabetes, the first steps should begin now.
Preventative Diabetic Foot Care
There are multiple factors to consider when creating a preventative plan for diabetic foot care. In all seriousness, though, the matter is not very complicated.
When you come to us for diabetic foot care, our first step will be to perform a full evaluation of your foot and ankle, including an analysis of your gait. We may also want to know certain things like what you do for a living, what your current activity level is, and whether you have a history of aches, pains, or other problems with your feet.
We are looking for areas that may be more vulnerable to pressure and injuries. We can then address these areas ahead of time through the use of custom orthotics and/or diabetic shoes. Protection and a more even distribution of weight not only reduce your injury risks, but they’ll likely help your feet feel a lot better in general, too!
Physical activity is also a factor to consider. We want to keep all of our patients moving and active to the best of their abilities, and exercise is especially crucial to the general wellbeing of anyone with diabetes.
That said, it’s worth considering the best forms of exercise that will help protect your feet from damage and maintain healthy circulation. Again, our intention is not to limit anyone if we can help it, but to find the best routes that lower the risk of future problems.
If you have other consistent problems such as calluses or ingrown toenails, those are signs of additional problems that should be addressed now. We can help you treat the sources of friction that cause corns and calluses, as well as provide permanent solutions to recurring ingrown toenails if necessary.
Even if your feet feel reasonably fine now, there is still no better time to start preventative check-ups. They should be as much a part of your diabetic care plan as managing your sugar levels!
Think of measures like these as patching up weak spots in your fortress wall. When is the best time to do them: now, or when the enemy army is rushing you?
Get Our Running Guide Today!
In our guide, you’ll learn more about:
- The benefits of a well-planned running routine
- When you should see a doctor if you have concerns or an injury
- How fast you should progress
- The best shoes to get for your feet
- The best food for recovery
Inside, you’ll also receive a running calendar that can help you get started for a 5K run!