If you have diabetes, you’re probably familiar with keeping routines (even if you don’t always follow through). Managing your diet, checking your blood sugar, getting enough exercise, knowing exactly when and what to eat before each activity, and so on.
If you haven’t added daily foot checks to your routine, you should! We know, one more thing to do, but even 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference and can even prevent serious medical consequences (possibly even requiring amputation).
Diabetes, especially when poorly managed, can lead to nerve damage and loss of sensation in the lower limbs (peripheral neuropathy); at the same time, circulation slows, impairing your body’s immunity and natural healing ability. Under these conditions, you may not be able to rely on your nervous system to tell you about a cut, blister, or other injury until much later (potentially even never, if neuropathy is severe), allowing time for infection to set in or for a substantial injury to compound (such as continuing to walk on a broken bone).
Neglecting daily foot inspection and care significantly increases your risk of skin infections, ulcers, Charcot foot, injuries requiring surgery, and amputations. These problems not only significantly reduce your quality of life, but can also be time-consuming and costly to fix. If you’re checking your feet at least once a day, however—and you know what to look for—you can catch a potential problem area before it has time to develop into something requiring serious medical intervention.
You should check your entire foot—top, bottom, between toes. Use a mirror if you need to, or ask someone to help. In addition to obvious signs of damage (like cuts, scrapes, blisters, or infected or ingrown toenails), note any evidence of swelling, redness, warm skin, changes in foot shape, or other unusual signs. Since you can’t always rely on sensations like pain to tell when something’s wrong, and you can’t visit us every single day, remaining vigilant with daily checks is the best way to keep your feet healthy and safe for the long haul.If you do notice anything amiss, or need to schedule a regular yearly diabetic foot check, give Family Foot and Ankle Center a call today at 888-689-3317. You can also request an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati locations online.