Diabetes is on the rise in the United States. Approximately 25 million people live with the condition—around 1 in 12 Americans—including millions who aren’t even aware they have it yet. Although the disease is manageable, it comes with plenty of health risks. You especially need to take special care of your legs and feet. Without proper diabetic foot care, even seemingly minor nicks and scrapes can evolve into serious complications.
Risks and Complications
Diabetes, especially if it is poorly managed, can lead to peripheral nerve damage in your lower limbs, resulting in numbness and loss of sensitivity. Cardiovascular problems, including poor circulation, delays your body’s natural healing processes and prevents wounds from closing in a timely fashion. These can form a devastating combination—you might not realize an open wound until infection has had time to set in, and an unchecked foot ulcer can deteriorate skin and bone, forcing amputation of a toe, foot, or even lower leg. With severe enough nerve damage, even broken bones might be overlooked until the resulting deformities become visible.
Caring For Your Feet
If you have diabetes, check your feet every day for cuts, redness, swelling, cracks, blisters, ingrown nails, embedded particles, or other problems. Use a mirror or ask a friend or loved one for help if you can’t see your entire foot. If you spot any breaks in the skin or notice any changes in the shape or structure of your foot, call Family Foot and Ankle.
You should also wash your lower limbs every day with gentle soap and water, and dry thoroughly before putting on any footwear. Using lotion afterward can help seal in extra moisture and prevent dry feet. Avoid applying between toes, though.
In addition, always wear shoes outside (even indoors is a good idea) to protect against accidental cuts, scrapes, splinters, and abrasions. Doing so will also prevent feet from getting too hot or too cold—due to nerve damage, you may not notice when scalding hot sand starts to burn or wet, frigid snow leads to frostbite.
Take care of your health too—carefully regulating your glucose levels, managing your weight, eating healthy foods, and refraining from smoking or drinking too much alcohol, helps keep your symptoms in check and reduces the risk of complications.
Also, exercise extreme caution when clipping your nails. Cut them straight across to prevent development of an ingrown nail. If you have difficult trimming your nails for any reason, we’d be happy to assist you in our office. Do not attempt to remove or trim any corns, calluses, warts, or the like yourself—be safe and set an appointment.
At Family Foot and Ankle Center, we perform complete foot exams for our patients with diabetes. We’ll check your lower limbs for any trouble spots. If you are at risk for amputation, we offer limb salvage services. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality diabetic foot care. State-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technologies, years of dedicated experience, and a friendly, supportive, and caring staff go to work for you each and every time you walk through our doors.
Whether you need a medical toenail trimming, treatment for a wound or ulcer, recommendations for the right pair of shoes, or just a regular check-up, trust your feet to us. We have six convenient Greater Cincinnati locations, including two in the city and one each in Finneytown, Hamilton, Fairfield, and Florence. Dial (513) 728-4800 for our Ohio locations, or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky.