February 23, 2016

See a Podiatrist If You have Diabetes – Part 2

This is something I will criticize many doctors and even patients with diabetes for not doing. There are many things that you can do at home, or your spouse can help you with these suggestions.

Check your feet daily: This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with a loss of sensation or neuropathy. A quick visual inspection will do - check the bottoms of your feet and between your toes. If you notice a change - an open cut that isn't healing or a fungal infection contact your doctor or podiatrist.

Wear protective shoes: Do not walk around barefoot or in open toed shoes. If you have any type of neuropathy, you may not sense a hot surface or an object that is caught on your foot. It's important to purchase protective shoes that conform to your feet. Avoid getting shoes that fit too snugly, which can increase the risk of rubbing your feet, creating blisters or broken skin.

Shake out your shoes before putting them on: You never know what has made its way into your shoe - a pebble, your dog's toy - shaking out your shoes reduces the risk of foot injury if you have neuropathy. Also, some spiders can bite a toe and you may not know it until it becomes a large sore. Depending on where you live will determine how carefully you need to shake out your shoes.

Dry well between your toes: Excess moisture can be a breeding ground for fungal infections. After bathing or showering, it's important to dry your feet well especially between your toes.

Keep good hygiene: Change your socks daily. Purchase cotton socks and do not go sock less in your shoes.

Do not apply lotions between your toes: Avoid putting lotion between your toes, because this can increase the risk of fungal infections. You can apply lotion to the heels of your feet to prevent dry, cracked skin.

Avoid nail salons: Getting pedicures at nail salons may not be the best idea. Nail salons can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. You might be better off getting a 'pedicure' by your foot doctor where you'll know that your nails will be cut straight across and not too short with sterilized tools. If you must go to a nail salon, request that they clean the foot bath in front of you and purchase your own set of tools or bring your own from home.

Following or doing the above is important and gives you a better chance to avoid some foot problems. With diabetes, we are more susceptible to foot problems and good foot care is needed. Several of our single support group members have mirrors that they use to look at the bottom of their feet and they also see a podiatrist at least quarterly. This is something that the support group emphasizes and we have had foot inspections one time for everyone. Yes, there was some grumbling, but when it was done, everyone was glad it was done and had more questions of the two podiatrists that participated.

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