If you know there is a burglar hitting houses in your neighborhood, would you wait until they were inside your house to do something about it?
Hopefully not! It would make much more sense to secure your house against the burglar breaking inside in the first place. Once they are already in, the odds that something bad will happen rise significantly.
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is like receiving advanced warning of a burglar in your neighborhood. The best actions you can take will always be proactive and preventative.
While Foot Specialists of Long Island is here to help any diabetic complications that happen to the feet in the form of diabetic wound care, we would prefer our patients not have to go through any troubles they don’t have to. By managing diabetes well and taking good care of your feet, you can avoid potentially serious problems from developing.
Why is Diabetes So Dangerous to the Feet?
While diabetes can have negative effects throughout the body, the feet can be particularly vulnerable areas. That is because the disease can compromise two very important defenses there.
First, diabetes can slow healing in the feet by affecting blood flow to the area. Our feet already have to deal with a challenge in circulation simply from how far away they are from the heart. Once diabetes or another condition begins to negatively affect circulation, the feet tend to be one of the first areas of the body to feel it.
Without a proper flow of oxygen and healing factors in the blood, injuries to the feet can take longer to heal. In some cases, wounds might not heal at all without some form of medical intervention. The longer it takes an injury to heal, the more opportunity it has to grow more severe or become infected.
The second factor is that, as diabetes reduces circulation, it can also damage the nerves in the feet (also known as peripheral neuropathy). This can lead to pain and tingling sensations, but the worst potential problem is feeling nothing at all.
When nerves become damaged enough to interfere with sensations in the feet, that means an injury can occur and go undetected. Combine this with a poor healing ability and there is a very real danger at hand.
Even a tiny cut on the foot can become a major problem if it goes unnoticed. As someone continues walking on the injury and not giving it time to heal, it can instead be opened up worse, turning into a sore or an ulcer. The risk of infection rises dramatically, and an infection can become severe enough as to require a partial or complete loss of the foot.
It’s a fate that nobody wants to think about, but it does happen to many people with diabetes every year. The good news, however, is that it’s easy to prevent things from ever going so far into the danger zone.
Keep Track of Your Feet
The best weapon you have in preventing diabetic foot complications is you.
Properly managing your blood sugar levels and general condition is a huge help. But when it comes to diabetic foot care, it is also essential to develop a routine of daily self-examination.
It does not matter whether you currently feel fine and your feet feel perfectly healthy. The effects of diabetes have a way of creeping in overtime and taking their toll very gradually. By making foot care a habit now, you will be able to catch potential problems well before they have a chance to turn serious.
Set a check-in time that is convenient and easy for you to repeat daily. Common times are before or after a shower, or right before bed, but any time that happens consistently every day should work just fine.
Take the time to inspect both the tops and bottoms of your feet, and in-between your toes. If you have trouble reaching, use a mirror or cell phone on a selfie stick for help. Don’t be afraid to recruit a loved one to help you, either.
Be on the watch for any signs of trouble in the feet. These may include:
- Ingrown Toenails
- Corns or calluses
- Spots that feel unusually warm
If you find a sign of anything, call our office and let us know. We likely will not ask you to come in every time you find something, but it’s important for us to have a record of things. We may simply ask you to keep an eye on the area for a few days and let us know if it is not healing or changes in any other way.
Let Us Help, Too!
While there are plenty of things you can do on your own to help reduce your risks of diabetic foot complications, having a professional in your corner will also be a massive benefit.
As we mentioned earlier, we can keep a history of what is going on with your feet as time passes. This not only includes what you find, however, but also what we discover through periodic exams of our own. We can take a much more intensive look at the condition of your feet and detect potential problems you might not have had any way to be aware of.
If there are issues concerning your foot structure, we can prescribe custom orthotics or diabetic shoes to provide the exact amounts of cushioning, support and protection needed. And if injuries and other problems do happen to arise, we can treat them effectively.
Lastly, we can listen to your needs and provide advice on living your best, active lifestyle while limiting risks to your feet.
If you have diabetes and need a podiatrist for preventative or direct care, give Foot Specialists of Long Island a call at (516) 804-9038. And if you have questions or prefer to contact us electronically, please feel free to reach out via our online contact form.