For those suffering with diabetes, foot ulcers and amputations can be not only life-threatening but a major cause of emotional and physical distress. Being proactive with your overall footcare when living with diabetes is crucial towards living a long and fulfilling life.
Those at highest risk of foot and ankle conditions stemming from diabetes fit the follow criteria:
• Have lived with diabetes for over 10 years
• Have had difficulty maintaining proper glucose levels
• Suffer from other diabetic complications
Whether you meet a few of these requirements or not, those living with diabetes need to take the proper precautions when it comes to their feet in order to prevent long-term issues. Foot ulcers and the need for amputations stem from the peripheral neuropathy of the foot and ankle. Due to increased blood sugar levels, nerve damage occurs. Coupled with reduced blood flow to the foot and ankle associated with a diabetic condition known as peripheral arterial disease, complications from everyday injuries can occur. With both conditions, simple lacerations to the foot region typically caused by improper footwear or walking barefoot will take longer to heal, potentially leading to foot ulcers.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you not only should be checking your feet daily at home but should, at a minimum, be seeing a podiatrist annually in order to ensure your feet are in good health.
If you have diabetes, here are important proactive steps you should take in order to prevent a foot ulcer or potential amputation:
• Check your feet daily for cuts or bruises
• Take special care to cleanse and then properly dry the foot region
• Ensure you are wearing proper footwear in order to avoid cuts and blisters
• Moisturize your feet daily to avoid potential infection from dry feet
• Avoid walking barefoot – wear socks or shoes whenever possible
• When breaking in new shoes, do so gradually as to avoid blisters and potential ulcers
If you note any injuries/abnormalities of the foot, it is advisable to visit a medical professional such as a podiatrist as soon as possible. By being proactive, you will help avoid potential complications such as a foot ulcer, or in more severe cases, a foot amputation.
Despite your best efforts, a foot ulcer may occur. In that case, your first step should be to contact your podiatrist in order to prevent the ulcer from worsening. Your podiatrist will ensure that the area is clean and protected in order to prevent further complications. You may be prescribed antibiotics in addition to being recommended specific footwear until the ulcer is healed. In more severe cases, your podiatrist may need to drain the infected region of the foot in order to promote proper healing.
If you are living with diabetes, it is important to communicate with your podiatrist so that he or she can provide you with a proper individualized plan of care. If you live in the Ronkonkoma, New York area and are diabetic, see how Dr. Muroff can help you! Contact us today.