Diabetic Foot Care
According to the American Diabetes Association, over 29 million Americans live with diabetes, including 8 million who have the condition but are currently unware of it. There is a strong relationship between diabetes and your feet and how they affect your health. Understanding the condition, and measures to be taken for effective diabetic foot care, can make a big difference – one that could potentially save your life.
Diabetes and Complicating Conditions
With diabetes, an individual’s cells do not get the glucose they need to function properly, especially with regard to energy and growth. Two of the major complications accompanying diabetes that could impact your feet are neuropathy and poor circulation.
When a diabetic individual has neuropathy (nerve damage), he or she may experience sensations that shouldn’t exist, like burning, tingling, or pain, or no sensations at all. Numbness is particularly alarming because an individual might sustain a foot injury without being aware of it.
The other major complication often associated with diabetes is poor circulation. This results when your blood vessels harden and narrow, thereby restricting the amount of blood that can flow to your extremities. Your body relies on blood to provide nourishment, especially when an injured or infected part needs to be repaired.
Diabetic Foot Care Planning
Given your body’s compromised natural defense mechanisms and healing processes, it is important that you establish a foot care plan to stay safe. Generally speaking, the two main goals accomplished with this are recognizing issues early and, even better, preventing complications from arising in the first place. The professionals at our office will assist you in creating an effective diabetic foot care plan, but some of the essential components include:
- Daily foot inspections. Physically checking your feet on a daily basis is necessary to discover problems at their earliest, most treatable stages, especially for those with neuropathy. Do this before going to bed and use a mirror or the aid of a loved one if you cannot see the bottoms of your feet.
- Proper foot hygiene. Wash your feet daily with warm water (not hot!), mild soap, and a soft hand towel. Rinse and pat your feet dry, taking special care to ensure that the areas between the toes are not damp and attractive to bacteria or fungus.
- Moisturize. Cracks and fissures that accompany excessive dryness allow bacteria or fungus to enter your body—which has the damp, dark, and warm conditions they seek—and lead to a dangerous situation. Prevent this by moisturizing your heels, tops, and bottoms of your feet. Avoid the areas between your toes, however.
- Shoes. If you live with diabetes, you need to always wear footwear, even in your home. Before you put on a pair of shoes, inspect the insides to make sure nothing is in them that could damage your feet.
- Exercise. Exercising promotes healthy circulation and can reduce your risk of diabetic complications. Be careful, though! If you have open sores on your feet, do not exercise until you are cleared to do so from Dr. Elenburg.
- Regularly scheduled doctor visits. Keep in mind that we are a team when it comes to your health. Make regular appointments with Foot and Ankle Center of Oklahoma so we can catch issues at their earliest stages or work together to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Effective Diabetic Foot Care in OKC
The specific treatment for any issue that surfaces on account of diabetes will vary, of course, but the common theme is seeking early care for optimal success. As soon as you become aware of anything out of the ordinary, reach out to us.
If you are a resident of Oklahoma City and require care for your diabetic feet, or you have a loved one who does, we are here to help. Our professionals can assist you by either creating an effective daily plan to protect your health or administering the treatment you need. Foot and Ankle Center of Oklahoma is the first choice of our community members for a reason, so come experience the expert care and personalized attention you deserve. Contact us today by scheduling your appointment online or calling us at (405) 418-2676.
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