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Focus on Foot Care Vital for People With Diabetes

 

Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body uses blood glucose, causing you to produce too much. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a staggering 1.4 million adults are diagnosed with the disease every year. The most common actions to take when managing diabetes are to follow a “specific-to-you” meal plan put together by a physician or nutritionist, engage regularly in exercise, maintain a healthy weight and regularly check your blood sugar.

However, people suffering from diabetes must also remember to take special care of their feet. Diabetes can damage nerves and restrict blood flow to the feet. Therefore, everyday duties — such as showering, exercising and clipping toenails — must be carefully monitored.

There are many things you can do to keep your feet healthy:

  • Check your feet every day for cuts, sores or blisters, as well as skin breakdown.
  • Be active.
  • Wash and dry your feet every day.
  • Keep your skin soft and smooth.
  • Carefully trim your toenails, trimming straight across and filing the edges.
  • Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes and socks at all times.
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold conditions.
  • Keep blood flowing to your feet by propping them up, wiggling your toes and moving your ankles throughout the day.
  • Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • ​Stop smoking.

​Aside from everyday upkeep, it is important to visit your podiatrist annually to receive a foot exam; however, if you notice any of these changes, your podiatrist should be contacted immediately:

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Sores or wounds
  • Calluses
  • Increased numbness or pain
  • Blackening of skin
  • Bunions
  • Infection
  • Hammer toes

Many people with diabetes suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which can restrict blood flow to the feet. Reduced blood flow can slow wound healing, make your body less effective at fighting infection and make you unable to feel pain. People with diabetes may also be at greater risk for nerve conditions that can lessen feeling in the legs and feet. Both peripheral arterial disease and nerve disease together make it easier to get ulcers and infections that could spread to bone, possibly leading to amputation.

People with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people. According to the ADA, approximately 73,000 non-traumatic lower limb amputations were performed in diabetic adults aged 20 years and older in 2010. About 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among people aged 20 years or older occur in people with diagnosed diabetes.

It is extremely important to exercise proper foot care and visit your primary healthcare provider regularly — but if new signs and symptoms develop, do not hesitate to contact them or your podiatrist as soon as possible. If a wound develops, ask your doctor about the Tanner Advanced Wound Center. For more information about the center’s services, visit www.tanner.org/woundcenter.

West Georgia Podiatry Associates, P.C., has locations in Carrollton and Villa Rica. For more information, visit www.westgapodiatry.com.

 

 

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