If you are diabetic, you need to know why foot care is so important and how to protect your feet. Now, it’s certainly easy to look at other medical complications that come from diabetes—increased risk of blindness, heart attacks, and strokes—and think that feet aren’t that important. That would be a huge mistake, however.
The 5-year mortality rate for individuals who develop diabetic foot ulcers is actually worse than for colon, breast, and prostate cancers. That is certainly concerning, but there is good news—diabetic foot ulcers are not inevitable! There are measures you can take—including daily foot inspection—that reduce your risk of developing this particular diabetic complication.
A vital part of diabetic foot care is inspecting your feet on a daily basis. This allows you to take note of issues early, especially when neuropathy takes away your ability to feel pain and abnormalities.
When you inspect your feet, you will be looking for any cuts, scrapes, bruises, blisters, calluses, ingrown toenails, or absolutely anything else that isn’t normal. Whereas a callus might not be a big deal for an otherwise healthy individual, it can become a medical emergency for you. As such, you have to be vigilant in noting anything out of the ordinary.
We want you to be able to do the best possible job when conducting a daily inspection, which entails using practices such as:
- Start a routine. In order to make sure you check your feet daily, get in the habit of doing your inspection at the same time. Something that works well for many diabetic individuals is to inspect feet before going to bed every night.
- Clean your feet first. Using a soft cloth and warm (not hot!) water, gently wash off your feet before inspecting them. This eliminates the possibility of potential risks being hidden from sight.
- Check in a well-lit place. If the lighting in your bedroom is dim, inspect your feet somewhere else. You will need appropriate light to catch even the smallest issues, since tiny problems can still escalate into major problems when left unattended.
- Be thorough. It’s not enough to just glance down at the tops of your feet! You need to inspect the tops, bottoms, and between the toes for both feet. A callus is more likely to be found on the bottom of a foot and corns can sometimes develop between toes. Either of those can break down over time and become an ulcer if you aren’t careful.
- Use your hands. Even if the diabetes is not affecting your eyesight too much, your hands are invaluable for detecting textual abnormalities. Gently run them over the surfaces to see if you feel anything unusual.
- Enlist help. If you are unable to see the bottoms of your feet, you need to either enlist the help of a loved one or use a mirror. As mentioned, wounds that become ulcers can happen on all surfaces of the feet.
- See us. There are two sides to this – 1) see us to create a diabetic foot care plan and 2) see us as soon as possible if you find anything. Our team can help you put a comprehensive plan in place to keep your feet healthy and safe. Remember, early medical intervention is always best, so contact us so we can provide professional care at the earliest opportunity.
Sunshein Podiatry is here to assist you with all of your foot care needs (diabetic and otherwise). Call (937) 435-7477 for more information or to schedule an appointment with our Centerville, OH office. You can also contact us online right now.