When dealing with all of the aspects of diabetes, it’s easy to let your feel fall to the bottom of the list. But daily care and evaluation is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications. It’s important to identify your risk factors and take the proper steps in limiting your complications. Two of the biggest complications with diabetes are peripheral neuropathy and ulcer/amputation.
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness, tingling and/or burning in your feet and legs. You can slow the progression of developing neuropathy by making it a point to manage your blood sugars and keep them in the normal range. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to establish and maintain a relationship with a podiatrist. Your podiatrist can make sure things are looking healthy and bring things to your attention to monitor and keep a close eye on.
Open wounds or ulcers can develop secondary to trauma, pressure, diabetes, neuropathy or poor circulation. If ulcerations do develop, it’s extremely important to identify the cause and address it. Ulcers can get worse quickly, so it’s necessary to seek immediate medical treatment if you find yourself or a loved one dealing with this complication. Untreated ulcerations often lead to amputation and can be avoided if proper medical attention is sought right away.
There are important things to remember when dealing with diabetic foot care. It’s very important to inspect your feet daily, especially if you have peripheral neuropathy. You may have a cut or a sore on your feet that you can’t feel, so your body doesn’t alarm you to check your feet. Be gentle when bathing your feet. Moisturize your feet, but not between your toes. Do not treat calluses or corns on your own. Wear clean, dry socks. Never walk barefoot, and consider socks and shoes made specifically for patients with diabetes.
Kristin Raleigh, D.P.M., is a podiatrist who sees patients at Foot & Ankle Specialists of Mid-Michigan in Midland. Those who would like to make an appointment may contact her office at (989) 488-6355.