One of the biggest concerns in the medical community is the growing prevalence of diabetes. At present, there are over 30 million people in the United States (almost 10% of the population) who are living with this disease. There are two facts, though, that makes this even more worrisome – 1) over 7 million are undiagnosed and do not realize they have the disease and 2) 84 million people over the age of 18 are prediabetic.
Prediabetes is a condition wherein blood sugar levels aren’t quite high enough to merit a diagnosis of diabetes, but they are higher than normal and come with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes affects the entire body, and feet are no exception. As such, diabetic foot care is essential for preventing serious complications like diabetic foot ulcers and Charcot foot. With both of these conditions, there is a heightened risk for lower limb amputation (or worse). Our goal is to help you create a foot care plan that will prevent issues from developing and make sure you are able to find help as soon as possible if they do arise.
Before jumping into advice geared more specifically to feet and lower limbs, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking appropriate measures to manage your diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels cause so much damage to essential organs and systems. This is the reason nerves become damaged and the immune system is unable to function as it should. Monitoring your glucose levels and eating a healthy diet is a critical first step in preventing problems like these.
With regard to foot care:
- Protect your feet. Make sure you wear diabetic socks and shoes at all times, even when at home. Stubbing a toe or stepping on something might not be a big deal for an otherwise healthy individual, but these can become major problems for you (especially if nerve damage leaves you numb in the lower limbs). It is important to note that part of protecting your feet is to check your footwear before putting them on to make sure there isn’t anything inside that could cause damage.
- Inspect your feet. On a daily basis, do a thorough inspection of the tops, bottoms, and between the toes areas to make sure there isn’t anything out of the ordinary. If you are unable to see the bottoms of your feet, have a loved one help or use a mirror that has a long handle. In the event you find any discoloration, lumps, cuts, scrapes, or anything else that isn’t normal, contact us as soon as you can.
- Seek early treatment. Tying in with that last point, you simply must seek the soonest possible care if you find any issues. Problems are most easily resolved at their earliest stages. Letting a problem go on for an extended period increases the odds it becomes a diabetic foot ulcer, which is a leading cause of limb amputation.