Posts for category: Diabetic Feet
Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
People who suffer from diabetes are at a very high risk of receiving foot ulcers. This is because some people who suffer from diabetes also suffer from peripheral neuropathy and other conditions that cause a lack of sensation in the feet. This lack of sensation makes it so it is hard for a diabetic patient to feel pain and other injuries occur on their feet. If you do not have diabetes, you can still receive an ulcer on your foot, but it is more likely to be found immediately due to the ability to clearly feel the injury and pain. If you do find an ulcer on your feet it is important that you make an appointment to see a podiatrist immediately. A podiatrist will clean and disinfect the ulcer so that an infection does not appear and spread. Wondering how they might do it? Here are the basic steps a podiatrist may take to clean your ulcer and protect it from further harm.
- Your podiatrist will find the ulcer.
- Next, your podiatrist will measure your ulcer. They want to know how large it is and will continue to measure it to be sure it is not growing in size.
- Clean your feet. Your podiatrist will clean out the ulcer in their office. They will take disinfectant and gently wash out the ulcer. In order to keep it clean, you may have to soak your feet at home in between appointments. This allows them to be cleaned out and helps speed up the healing process.
- A podiatrist will then apply a healing ointment to help the ulcer heal.
- After the ointment is applied, a podiatrist or his assistant will put on gauze or another type of dressing to cover up the ulcer so dirt, debris, and other bacteria cannot reach the ulcer.
- The gauze will be adhered to the foot with silk tape or medical tape. If the gauze moves around it can irritate the ulcer or allow for bacteria to enter the wound.
- In between appointments be sure to change your dressing or bandage multiple times a day. If the ulcer is stuck in the same bandaging or dressing, it will fester due to the bacteria that is built up and rubbing it.
- Use a sock to slip over the bandaging or dressing. This secures the dressing and makes sure it does not come loose.
If you find an ulcer on your foot, you should see a podiatrist right away. While it is proactive to clean the ulcer, it is imperative that it is seen by a medical professional to be sure there is no underlying cause or infection that could cause greater damage. Call Dr. Andrew H. Cohen, of Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center, located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. Call 989-790-8009 or make an appointment online today. When it comes to wound care, we are the best.
Diabetic Risks for Diabetic Feet
- A small blister simply from wearing the wrong shoe can seriously damage your foot.
- Injuries heal very slowly and can become infected quickly.
- If you forget to inspect your feet daily and miss something there can be serious consequences.
Taking Good Care
- Trim your toenails straight across the top of your toe to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Use a quality skin lotion to keep your feet soft and moist but avoid leaving any in-between your toes.
- When purchasing your shoes, consider how they fit without having to break them in. They should be made of soft leather and fit loosely as to not contribute to poor circulation.
- If your feet become numb, there is a high risk of developing Charcot foot which occurs in people who have neuropathy. It effects the bones and can ultimately change the shape of your foot.
- Because circulation is a large concern with diabetes, make sure your socks are not restricting blood flow. Try square-toe socks and avoid elastic tops.
- Wash your feet daily with mild soap and dry them thoroughly by patting them with a towel.
- Keep your feet warm but do not put them directly into the heat.
Type of Wounds
- Ulcers can be reversed with the right treatment but when infection sets into the bone, amputation is often the next step.
- Blisters are somewhat rare but if left unattended they can erupt, so it is good to keep them clean.
- Scratches and cuts should be monitored but if you keep them clean and covered they shouldn’t become an issue.
- Bruises are not very harmful unless the skin breaks in which case you need to treat it as a cut.
Anyone who has diabetes can develop a foot ulcer due to a combination of factors, such as poor circulation, friction or pressure, trauma, foot deformities or just wear and tear from having diabetes. It can be a dire situation if any of these conditions progress, therefore, immediate attention is wise.
Mid – Michigan Foot and Ankle Center in Saginaw and Essexville can address your concerns right away so call us at 989-790-8009 and schedule an appointment today. Dr. Andrew H. Cohen specializes in Diabetic wounds and can help eliminate any further damage brought on by diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease caused by high sugar levels in your blood stream which makes it harder to fight infection, especially in your feet. Managing the diabetic foot is complicated and requires specialists working together to control your symptoms. Dr. Andrew H. Cohen has treated thousands of patients for acute and chronic diabetic wounds as a board certified wound care specialist in Michigan. Here are some facts and tips that may help you deal better with your disease.
Effects from Diabetes:
- Any cut and soar on your feet can become infected much easier than someone without diabetes.
- Nerve damage is very likely with this disease and can lead to loss of feeling in your feet.
- Once an infection sets in from a simple cut it can take a long time to heal.
- Diabetes lowers the amount of blood flow in your feet which contributes to numbness and nerve problems.
- Bones can shift or break causing “rocker bottom” which is an anomaly of the foot.
- In extreme cases gangrene or foot ulcers can develop and amputation may be the only option to keep the infection from spreading.
Basic Care Advice:
- Consult both a podiatrist and a physician to make a self care plan for your diabetes.
- Stay active to keep your blood flowing in your feet by walking, biking, etc.
- Keep your toenails trimmed and wash your feet regularly.
- Make sure your feet are checked with every visit to your general doctor.
- Wear proper shoes and padded socks as often as possible if not daily.
- Try not to cross your legs for too long as this can reduce blood flow.
- Make sure your shoes do not have any sharp edges inside that can cause cuts or abrasions.
Look and Feel for:
- Bumps, lumps, blisters or bruises.
- Cut, sores and cracked skin.
- Redness, or thin shiny areas on the skin.
- Temperature differences can detect poor blood flow.
- Ingrown toe nails that are red or tender.
- Pain, tingling, numbness or lack of feeling completely.
- Loss of hair on the feet or legs.
If you or a family member has any of these symptoms, please reach out to one of our locations either in Saginaw or Essexville Michigan without delay at 989-790-8009. Diabetes can be a very serious disease which requires special attention and Mid- Michigan Foot and Ankle Center can schedule an appointment to give you the treatment you need to maintain your health.