Diabetes is a whole-body illness, affecting nearly every major body system. The feet are at particular risk as it brings with it the added threat of reduced circulation, neuropathy, and loss of sensation — a combination of which can cause serious damage to your foot health. The good news is that you can reduce the risk of complications. In honor of American Diabetes Month here are some simple do’s and don’ts to follow for optimal diabetic foot health.
- A critical ‘Do’ for anyone recently diagnosed with diabetes is to have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) on their diabetic care team. Talk to a podiatrist like Dr. John C. Marzano about the best ways to be proactive about your foot and ankle health. Learn about symptoms, risk levels, foot care, and treatment options. Schedule regular podiatric checkups with our podiatrist.
- Don’t expose your feet to any direct heat. Don’t use heating pads, electric blankets, space heaters, or put your feet up in front of a fireplace as it could cause burns or a non-healing wound. If you have neuropathy or nerve damage from diabetes, you may not be able to assess temperature, pressure, or pain accurately.
- Do keep your feet clean and dry to protect against bacteria and fungi growth on your feet. Having wet, sweaty feet can even lead to foul foot odor and infections. Wash your feet daily and dry them properly (don’t miss the area between the toes). Switch shoes every day and let them air out properly. Change your socks throughout the day.
- Don’t walk around barefoot even if you are in the comfort of your home.
- Do cut your nails properly – straight across, not too short, and with no rounded edges to help prevents ingrown toenails from developing. If you are unable to cut your toenails safely, see your podiatrist.
- Don’t wear tight fitting shoes or those with high heels. The wrong choice of shoes can increase of risk of foot problems.
Check on your feet every day for any changes or unusual symptoms. Prompt action can significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and amputation. If your feet feel swollen or you have any underlying foot condition, contact Westchester Podiatric Healing Medicine, P.C., in Yonkers, NY by calling (914) 423-0600. Our highly experienced and board-certified podiatrist, Dr. John C. Marzano, will diagnose your foot problem and determine the treatment that best suits your feet.