Over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and around seven million don’t even know they have the disease yet, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. The most common reason a person with diabetes is admitted to the hospital is for problems with their feet.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. You can take preventative measures to avoid the two main underlying foot problems related to diabetes: nerve damage and poor circulation. Seeing a podiatrist once a year for an annual exam should be part of your comprehensive team approach in controlling diabetes.
If you have diabetes, please follow the guidelines below. These steps will take you a long way toward healthy feet and help you to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.
- Keep your blood sugars tightly controlled. Work carefully with the doctor that treats your diabetes to accomplish this.
- Inspect your feet daily. Look for areas of redness, bruising, swelling or rashes. If you notice new problems, call our office. Most foot problems are easier to treat the earlier they are found. Daily foot inspections are even more important if a person has numb feet (neuropathy). Your eyes have to take the place of your ability to feel. If necessary, use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet. If you have trouble seeing your feet, have a family member or a friend do the inspections for you.
- Do not go barefoot. Wear shoes even in your home to help protect your feet. Make sure you wear shoes that are supportive and fit well. Click here for Tips on Buying Shoes
- Get your corns or calluses regularly evaluated and treated. If you have corns or calluses, call our office to arrange to have them evaluated and treated. Calluses and corns occur when there is an area that has too much pressure on it when you are standing and walking. These areas often lead to diabetic foot ulcers so it is very important to have corns and calluses treated.
- Use a skin moisturizer daily. Pay particular attention to applying lotion to the bottom of the feet. Do not put any moisturizer between your toes. We have an excellent moisturizer available in our office.
- Do not smoke. If you smoke….quit. Smoking causes arteries to become damaged. Additionally, each time you smoke, the nicotine you inhale causes blood vessels to constrict. This means even less blood is reaching the tissues in your feet.
- Perform some type of aerobic exercise daily. Good examples are running, walking, cycling and using an elliptical machine. Any exercise that uses your legs and elevates your heart rate will work. Be sure to check with your primary care doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have foot problems, ask one of our doctors which forms of exercise would be best for you.
Our doctors are experts in diabetic wound care and in the treatment of the diabetic foot. If you have diabetes, give our office a call at (317) 573-4250 and let us help you keep your feet on a healthy path.