Today is World Diabetes Day, a day dedicated by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization to increasing recognition of the impact of diabetes. In order to spread awareness about one of the most common complications of diabetes, we offer this overview of diabetic foot care.
The main complications of diabetes come from the detri-
mental effects of high levels of sugar in the bloodstream.
The sugar harms blood vessels, as well as nerves, and because every cell in the body receives its nourishment
from the blood, every part of the body is subject to the
effects of diabetes.
One of the most common “danger spots” for diabetics is their feet. As many as one-half of diabetics suffer from peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage that affects the feet and legs. This means that a diabetic can get a foot or leg injury and not even feel it. Pair that with the reduced circulation that is also a feature of diabetes, and you have a recipe for serious foot problems: what might be a minor foot injury in a nondiabetic can quickly become a medical emergency — sometimes leading to amputation — in someone with diabetes.
But there is reason for hope. Diabetics who practice proper footcare are nearly 60% less likely to have a major problem with their feet.
Here are 6 ways that diabetics can keep their feet healthy:
- Wash and dry your feet every day. Be sure to dry the spaces between your toes to avoid fungal infections. Use talcum powder between your toes to keep those areas dry all day.
- Check your feet every day. This includes the bottoms of your feet, and between your toes. Look out for anything unusual, including swelling, cuts, unusual odor, unusual color, tingling or numbness, warmth or burning, and even calluses or corns.
- Call your doctor if you find anything unusual. Don’t use over-the-counter medications. Diabetic feet are sensitive, and may be irritated by these products.
- Never go barefoot. Doing so, even at home, can lead to potentially dangerous cuts and injuries. Wearing shoes is not enough; it is important for diabetics to wear socks when wearing shoes in order to cushion and protect their feet.
- Put up your feet. Elevating your feet whenever possible helps your circulation. Avoid crossing your legs for an extended period of time, since that hampers circulation.
- Keep your blood sugar under control. While this will minimize the effects of diabetes on your feet, this is not just a foot issue. Proper regulation of your blood sugar will minimize all the deleterious effects of diabetes.
At Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in the scenic beach town of Keansburg, NJ, we take special care to monitor our residents for diabetes, and prevent the harm it can cause. It’s part of our philosophy of healing the entire patient through a holistic and individualized approach. Our meticulous care planning helps us ensure that each and every resident receives the best in clinical care, support and unconditional love.
Or better yet, come see for yourself contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.