When you have diabetes, you’re at increased risk of developing problems with your feet. As many as one-half of people with diabetes have nerve damage, which is known as peripheral neuropathy.
This nerve damage means you have reduced feeling — or no feeling — in your feet, so minor problems, such as small cuts, blisters, or ingrown toenails, can go unnoticed. Without treatment, these wounds can grow and get infected.
Laura Schweger, DPM, and Evan M. Ross, DPM, of Optima Foot and Ankle in Bend, Oregon, are experts in providing diabetic foot care and treating all types of foot wounds. They believe it’s critical for people with diabetes to check their feet daily, and in this blog, they explain how to do just that.
Five steps for daily foot care
These steps will help you perform a basic, daily diabetic foot check. If you can’t access your feet easily, use a mirror or have a family member help you.
1. Examine your whole foot
Check the top, soles, and sides of your feet. Look for any cuts, blisters, thickened skin (calluses), or bruises.
2. Look between your toes
Cuts and injuries can develop between your toes. Also note if you have skin damage there or small blisters.
3. Physically feel your feet
Not all foot problems are readily visible. Use your hands to feel for bumps, lumps, or cold spots.
4. Wash your feet
Keep your feet clear of grime and dirt. When you wash them, use warm (not hot) water. Maintaining clean feet can help keep them protected from infection. Dry them thoroughly afterwards, too.
5. Make note of any changes
If you notice any concerning changes, write them down and contact our office to have them more thoroughly examined.
Other ways to protect your feet
Here at Optima Foot and Ankle, we recommend that you also keep your feet healthy with these steps:
Never go barefoot
Wear socks, slippers, or shoes always — even inside.
Choose well-fitting shoes
Our team can make recommendations regarding diabetic friendly shoes. They may also recommend custom orthotics to correct any gait issues.
Trim toenails correctly
When you trim your toenails, cut them straight across and smooth sharp edges with a nail file. Proper trimming can help prevent ingrown nails.
Don’t treat foot problems on your own
If you notice corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, or other issues, make an appointment with our office for treatment. You don’t want to risk injuring yourself or causing further complications.
Signs your feet need immediate podiatric care
You shouldn't wait to get care if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Tingling, burning, or pain in your feet
- Loss of sensation in your feet
- Loss of hair on your toes and lower legs
- Thickened, yellow toenails
- A change in the color and/or temperature of your feet
- Changes to the shape of your foot
- Athlete’s foot or another fungal infection
- Blisters, ulcers, infected corns, or ingrown toenails
We offer treatments that can clear up these problems, relieve symptoms, and prevent further complications.
To get the best in podiatric care, call 541-383-3668 or book an appointment online with Optima Foot and Ankle today.