Diabetes affects how your body uses or produces the naturally occurring chemical messenger insulin. That might not sound like it has much to do with your feet or your long-term podiatry health. But diabetes presents a surprisingly strong risk to your feet.
At Town Center Foot & Ankle, we’re experienced with diabetic foot care. From our Kingwood and Atascocita, Texas, location, board-certified podiatrist Stephen Eichelsdorfer, DPM, supports new and existing patients with diabetes who are concerned about foot health.
There’s good reason to be concerned. Without the right diabetic foot care, your feet can lose sensation. Eventually, due to circulation issues, you might even face amputation. That’s not the outcome Dr. Eichelsdorfer, also known as Dr. Ike, wants for you.
Instead, here’s what you can do to keep your feet healthy if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
Get your blood sugar levels under control
Issues with insulin related to your diabetes cause your blood sugar levels to become too high. Over time, high blood sugar levels cause damage throughout your body. Because your feet are relatively far away from your heart, high blood sugar levels pose significant risks for your feet and lower extremities.
In order to reduce the risk to your feet, work with a team of medical professionals to keep your diabetes under control and your blood sugar levels well-regulated. You may need to monitor your blood sugar levels, use medication management, or commit to dietary and lifestyle changes.
But in order to stay on your feet and keep your full mobility, it’s absolutely worth the effort.
Watch out for small cuts and scrapes
Impaired circulation due to diabetes means that even little cuts, scrapes, or other tears in the protective outer skin of your feet can turn into a serious opportunity for infection. Diabetes can slow wound healing, as well.
That’s why, if you’re living with diabetes, you should pay attention to cuts, scrapes, blisters, calluses, and other breaks in your foot skin, like those from ingrown toenails.
Check your feet for injuries daily, and gently clean your feet with warm — not hot — water and soap to prevent infection from taking root.
Protect your feet with the right socks and shoes
In addition to checking your feet for small injuries that can become big problems, take extra steps to protect your feet and skin. People with diabetes should avoid going barefoot as much as possible.
Keep socks, or even shoes, on when you’re inside, as well as outside, to reduce your risk of cuts and scrapes. Make sure your socks are clean and that your shoes fit well and give you good support.
Your socks and shoes should work together as a seamless team, sheltering your feet without causing additional issues like blisters. Dr. Ike can help you put together a footwear kit that keeps you safe and comfortable.
Handle sensation loss with care
Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels may result in a condition called diabetic neuropathy. This type of nerve damage often affects the feet, in which case it’s known as peripheral neuropathy.
If you have diabetic neuropathy that affects your feet, you experience changes or loss of sensation in that part of your body. You might notice numbness or a tingling sensation. And your feet might not be able to register temperature extremes like heat or cold.
If you suffer from sensation loss in your feet due to diabetes, you need to take extra care. Loss of pain signals means that catching wounds early becomes that much more of a challenge. You could even accidentally burn your feet with water that’s too hot, not realizing that your feet are being harmed.
Partner with podiatry professionals
The best way to keep your feet safe from diabetes? Work with a podiatry expert like Dr. Ike and our team at Town Center Foot & Ankle.
Dr. Ike assesses your symptoms, medical history, and care needs. Then you receive a comprehensive consultation and ongoing support covering all of your diabetic foot care concerns.
For diabetic foot care support you can count on, schedule your initial consultation at our Kingwood or Atascocita, Texas, office of Town Center Foot & Ankle. Schedule online or over the phone today.