Caring for Diabetic Feet and Wounds

Did you know that November was National Diabetes Month?

If you have diabetes, you should already know that remembering to care for your feet can’t be something that only happens one month of the year. It must be a daily concern, because uncontrolled diabetes is extremely dangerous for your feet.

Checking Feet

Where Foot Wounds Come From

We’ll keep this brief, but it’s important to understand the stakes before discussing what you need to do to care for yourself.

Anybody can get a cut or blister on their foot. But for someone with diabetes—especially poorly controlled diabetes—that small injury can grow into an infected ulcer that could, ultimately, cause them to lose their toe, foot, even their leg to a necessary amputation.

Many people with diabetes develop nerve damage in their feet, which impairs their sensation and prevents them from realizing when their shoes are too tight, or when they’ve suffered a cut or injury.

Only about half of people who undergo a lower limb amputation related to diabetes are still alive five years later. And there are about 70,000 of these amputation in the United States each and every year.

How You Can Stop Them

Seek Wound Care Immediately If You Develop a Foot Ulcer

If you develop a sore on your foot that doesn’t improve within a couple of days, give us a call right away and we’ll schedule you as soon as possible—that same day if we can.

Foot wounds need to be treated by a professional immediately in order to prevent or reverse any infection and bring about healing as quickly as possible.

Most foot wounds can be treated right from our office in DeSoto. However, more severe wounds may need to be referred to the local wound care center.

During the wound care process, we’ll clean the wound and remove any dead skin or tissue that may be impairing the healing process. (This is called debridement.) We’ll apply whatever medications, dressings, and bandages that are necessary as well.

As you heal at home, it will be important to avoid putting any weight or pressure on your wound. We’ll make sure you get any tools you need to do this, such as a brace, walking boot, or crutches. We’ll also show you how to monitor, clean, and re-bandage your wound according to an appropriate schedule.

Schedule a Yearly Diabetic Foot Checkup with Your Podiatrist

Anyone with diabetes should be meeting with a foot doctor at least once per year. Those with a history of foot problems or wounds should visit more often than that.

At our office, we can provide a variety of services, tests, and tools to help you protect your feet and avoid developing a foot wound in the first place.

One of the main ways we can help is by providing diabetic shoes and orthotics.

Another way we help is by providing routine screenings and maintenance care for any ongoing foot problems you may have. If you have corns, calluses, deformities, dry skin, or other nagging foot issues, they can increase your risk for developing more serious complications.

Washing Feet

Take Care of Your Feet at Home

Of course, a yearly checkup is only going to help if you’re taking appropriate care of your feet at home all the other days that you don’t see us!

You can do a lot to show your feet you care and reduce your risk of ulcers. For example:

  • Give yourself a self-exam every day. Remember, if you have nerve issues you may not be able to simply “feel” when something is wrong. Check your feet carefully with your eyes and hands for blisters, swelling, sores, red spots, temperature fluctuations, bumps, etc. Note anything unusual and call us if problems don’t go away.
  • Clean your feet every day. Mild soap, lukewarm water (use a thermometer if you have nerve damage). Dry feet completely after bathing, then put on moisturizer and clean socks.
  • Manage your blood sugar. The better you control your sugar, the less damage your nerves and circulation will sustain and the lower your risk of wounds. Healthy eating and exercise and regular monitoring of blood glucose can go a long way.
  • Wear good shoes, even at home. If we’ve prescribed you a pair of diabetic shoes, wear those.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking will make the poor circulation problem associated with diabetes even worse.

The great news is that diabetic wounds and other serious diabetic foot complications are almost always preventable—and even if you do develop one, you can usually save your feet if you seek help promptly.

Is it time for your checkup? Or maybe you’ve noticed a wound beginning to form on your foot? Don’t wait—call Trinity Foot Center in DeSoto today at (972) 293-9650.