Diabetes is an extremely serious medical condition, one which has far-reaching implications across the entire body. Feet in particular are quite impacted by the disease, yet are easy to overlook. Diabetic foot care is an essential practice in order to prevent infections and injuries that could potentially lead to lower limb amputation.
This medical condition is certainly serious, but our staff at Southern Tier Podiatry can help keep you safe. We offer comprehensive foot and ankle services—including diabetic foot care—and will share measures you can take to reduce your risk of serious complications.
Diabetes and Feet
Two different issues commonly associated with diabetes can work together and lead to dangerous threats for foot health. The first of these is diabetic neuropathy. This is a condition when damaged peripheral nerves have lost their ability to convey messages to the brain and spinal column. One of the dangers of diabetic neuropathy is the inability to recognize when an injury or damage has been sustained. Even minor issues left untreated can snowball into very serious medical emergencies.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is another common issue affecting diabetic feet. Those who live with diabetes frequently have blood circulation issues. This is especially concerning for the lower limbs, since blood oxygenated in the heart already has to make the farthest trip to reach them. Reduced circulation makes it rather difficult for feet to receive enough nourishment.
The Importance of Diabetic Foot Care
Your best tool in protecting your feet and reducing the risk of serious issues is a comprehensive foot care plan. If you do not already have one in place, come see us and we will help you prepare one. A carefully-prepared plan will help you detect abnormalities and condition in their earliest, most treatable stages.
The aforementioned issues, diabetic neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease, form a dangerous one-two punch that can result in issues like severe foot deformity (Charcot foot) and tissue death (gangrene). Gangrene is particularly concerning because it is irreversible, creates the risk of sepsis, and will often necessitate some degree of amputation to prevent its spread.
Diabetic Foot Care Basics
To decrease the risk of experiencing those serious medical conditions, people who have diabetes need to take steps for both prevention and early detection of various issues. Responsible foot care practices include:
- Daily foot inspections – Neuropathy can lead to an impaired ability to experience physical sensations. Diabetic individuals must carefully check their feet—tops, bottoms, and between the toes—every day for bruises, scrapes, cuts, and anything unusual. Contact our office as soon as possible if anything is found!
- Proper hygienic practices – Infections cause a heightened risk for diabetic individuals on account of a weakened immune system and poor circulation. Wash feet every day with mild soap and warm (but not hot!) water to rid them of bacteria.
- Careful nail trimming – When nails become ingrown, they increase infection risk. One of the ways this happens is by rounding off toenails or clipping them too short. For your safety, the best practice is to have your nails trimmed by our professionals here at Southern Tier Podiatry.
- Foot protection – Always wear proper footwear, even when indoors at home. Check the insides of your shoes before wearing them. Make sure there is nothing inside that could potentially damage your feet.
- Regularly-scheduled foot exams – Appointments at Southern Tier Podiatry on a regular basis are a smart, easy way to ensure your feet are healthy and safe.
Professional Diabetic Foot Care in the Southern Tier
Foot care is essential when you live with diabetes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Make it as easy as possible by enlisting the help of our professionals at Southern Tier Podiatry. We are committed to your health and safety, so give us a call at (607) 217-5668. You can also schedule an appointment with our Vestal, NY office online today.