Most people know diabetes affects the body in a multitude of different ways. They may be quick to think about issues like increased risk of strokes, vision problems, and kidney failure. Those are certainly quite concerning, but not everyone realizes the precarious nature of the intertwining relationship between diabetes and feet.
Compared to those other issues, foot health might not seem to be a huge concern at first glance. When you understand how a problem like an untreated blister or tiny wound can escalate, however, you begin to see why diabetic foot care is so important.
There are definite concerns with the health of your feet when you have diabetes, but there is also good news – you aren’t alone! Our team at Haro Podiatry & Laser Center provides a wide range of foot and ankle services, including diabetic foot care. Dr. Haro will work with you to ensure your feet are as healthy as possible and stay safe from problems that could otherwise require amputation.
Daily Inspection of Diabetic Feet
Since your feet spend so much time covered—coupled with the neuropathy (nerve damage) that can accompany diabetes—it is entirely possible for you to be unaware of a developing condition. In time, minor conditions become major complications. We would rather see you avoid the potential for danger, so carefully inspect your feet daily for:
- Cuts, scratches, and scrapes. When you discover these wounds, wash the affected area carefully with sterile, running water and apply an antibiotic cream recommended by our office. If there is any redness, oozing, or foul-smelling discharge, call us as soon as possible!
- Skin issues. Keep your feet from becoming too dry, which can ultimately lead to fissures and cracking. Itching and redness are possible signs of infection and need to be treated right away. Blue or black coloration are indications of circulation issues. You need to seek emergency care immediately if you observe them.
- Blisters, corns, calluses, warts, and other growths. Any abnormality that you note on your feet has the potential for leading to a dangerous infection. A blister that bursts or callus that cracks can open the door for a microorganism to enter your body.
- Ingrown or discolored toenails. Ingrown nails will dig into your skin and increase the risk of infection. A smart way to reduce your risk of ingrown toenails—and other potential problems—is to come in and have your nails trimmed at our office. Discolored nails are a sign of fungal infection and need professional treatment. Haro Podiatry & Laser Center offers laser therapy for toenail fungus that can eradicate the offensive organisms, while keeping you safe!
Protecting Diabetic Feet
Some areas of protecting your feet may seem more obvious than others, but they are all essential components for keeping you safe and healthy.
- Diabetic shoe choices. Make sure that your shoes fit comfortably, but are not so loose that your feet slide around inside and pose the risk of blisters. You should be able to wiggle your toes, yet still have your heel supported and cradled. Our office can assist you in finding footwear that works best for you.
- Nail care. Keep your toenails short and straight. Instead of doing this yourself, schedule an appointment and have it done at our office for optimal safety.
- Cleanliness. Protect yourself from the threat of infection by washing your feet daily. Use a mild soap and warm water. Avoid hot water, since neuropathy may prevent you from realizing when you are burning your skin. Afterwards, be sure to dry your feet thoroughly.
- Skin care. Excessive dryness can lead to cracks and fissures that enable microorganisms to enter your body. After cleaning your feet, apply lotion to the heels, tops, and bottoms of your feet. Avoid the areas between your toes as this can create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
Lifestyle Choices and Diabetes
Whether you have diabetes or not, smoking is simply a poor choice for your physical health. When you do live with this disease, though, it becomes an even bigger detriment to your body. Smoking constricts your blood vessels, which is less than ideal for someone who already has circulation issues due to diabetes.
Not all lifestyle choices entail “do not,” and a prime example is exercise. You can actually help fight some of the problems that accompany diabetes with physical activity. Low-impact exercises, like walking and swimming, are great ways to promote better circulation and lose weight, but without putting excessive pressure on your feet. Before you start any exercise program, make sure you check with our office first! We can identify potential problems and help you create a program that keeps you safe.
Professional Diabetic Foot Care
In addition to the steps you take yourself, an important component of diabetic foot care is setting up regular appointments with Dr. Haro. By coming in every couple of months, we can catch issues before they become serious. Also, this enables you to ask questions and see if there is anything else you should be doing to manage the disease.
Contact Haro Podiatry & Laser Center for an appointment to set up your diabetic foot care plan. Call us at 973-755-7775 and request a visit with either of our Clifton or Jersey City offices.