Diabetic foot; Prevention and Early Intervention for Diabetes Foot Problem
Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet – even a small cut can produce serious complications and lead to losing a toe, foot, or legs. Fortunately, most of these complications can be prevented with careful foot care. In fact, when it comes to foot care, the patient is a vital member of the medical team. It may take time and effort to build good foot care habits, but self-care is essential.
Possible foot problems
1. Poor circulation: Poor pulses, cold feet, thin or blue skin, and lack of hair signal that the feet are not getting enough blood.
2. Nerve damage: unusual sensations in the feet and legs, including pain, burning, numbness, tingling, and fatigue.
3. Skin changes: Excessive skin dryness, scaling, cracking, healed or new ulcers, calluses, and broken skin between the toes
4. Deformities: The structure and appearance of the feet and foot joints can indicate diabetic complications. Nerve damage can lead to joint and other foot deformities. The toes may have a peculiar “claw toe” appearance, and the foot arch and other bones may appear collapsed.
Prevention and Early Intervention
1. Take care of your diabetes: Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
2. Inspect your feet daily: Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.
3. Wash your feet in lukewarm water: Use lukewarm water and mild soap to clean the feet. Gently pat your feet dry and apply a moisturizing cream or lotion
4. Cut nails carefully: Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toe nails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor.
5. Never treat corns or calluses yourself: No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.
6. Choose socks and shoes carefully: Select cotton socks that fit loosely, and change the socks every day. Avoid tight elastic bands (they reduce circulation). Don’t wear thick or bulky socks.
7. Wear socks to bed: If your feet get cold at night, wear socks.
8. Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing: Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
9. Keep your feet warm and dry: Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
10. Never walk barefoot: Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
11. Quit smoking: Smoking can worsen heart and vascular problems and reduce circulation to the feet.
12. Ask for foot exams periodic: Seeing your foot and ankle surgeon on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.