If you live with diabetes, your podiatrist has likely discussed the importance of taking excellent care of your feet. Diabetes complications make your feet vulnerable to certain problems, and if they progress, things can get very serious, very quickly.
Since proper foot health monitoring and care is critical for those with diabetes, the caring provider team at Premier Foot & Ankle, with nine convenient Texas locations, prioritizes educating our diabetic patients about foot care and providing innovative treatment promptly for any problems that arise.
You’re not alone in needing to be especially careful about foot care either, since diabetes affects over 37 million Americans.
Diabetes: The basics
Diabetes is a chronic condition, impacting how your body transforms food into energy and causing glucose buildup in your bloodstream. Type 1 diabetes stems from an autoimmune reaction that prevents your body from making insulin.
Only 5-10% of those with diabetes have type 1, and it’s usually diagnosed in children and teens.
Type 1 diabetics must take insulin daily to survive, and there’s no known way to prevent it.
With type 2 diabetes, your body uses insulin inefficiently and your blood sugar levels aren’t normal. Type 2 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in adults. The promising thing with type 2 diabetes is that eating well, getting sufficient exercise, and losing weight can often delay or prevent a diagnosis.
Whether you’re diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you must be vigilant about your foot care.
How diabetes harms your feet
If you have diabetes, there’s less blood flow to your feet. Your feet also make a reduced amount of oil and sweat as compared to someone who doesn’t have this condition.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage in your feet. This is where serious problems originate because nerve damage affects sensation in your feet. You’re less aware or completely unaware of having a cut because you can’t feel it.
Diabetes also suppresses your immune system, making foot injuries slower to heal. This is the beginning of a potentially vicious cycle.
These factors put you at higher risk for a range of foot problems, including:
- Ingrown toenails
- Toenail fungus
- Injuries, even tiny ones that can quickly develop into a serious infection
If an infection intensifies, it can put you at risk for sepsis, which is life-threatening. You can also get gangrene (tissue death from lack of blood flow and infection), which necessitates amputation of your toes or in worst-case scenarios, your entire foot.
Proper foot care is critical for people with diabetes
Avoiding a frightening, life-altering situation like described above is why we emphasize the critical importance of taking good care of your feet. When you visit your Premier Foot & Ankle provider, they educate you about taking scrupulous care of your feet.
What does proper foot care look like if you have diabetes? Follow these steps, in addition to coming in for regular checkups:
- Examine your feet daily for any nicks, scratches, or cuts
- Wash your feet well and dry them thoroughly
- Avoid going barefoot and always wear good socks and shoes that fit well
- Protect your feet from becoming too hot or cold
- Trim your toenails carefully, and get help from us if you have numbness or vision issues
Part of the care partnership we have with our patients who live with diabetes is that we perform detailed wound evaluations and treatment for any problems.
Advanced treatment for diabetes-related foot problems
If you have a foot injury, we offer treatment and ongoing support until it’s resolved. You may be prescribed antibiotics, as well as advanced wound care treatments, including regenerative platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. This approach harnesses the power of your body’s own healing capabilities to hasten the healing of your foot injury.
Shoe inserts, splints, and custom orthotics also have an important place in foot treatment. And we’re proud to offer some exciting testing and treatment options as well, including:
- Noninvasive SUDOSCAN® testing to detect neuropathy as well as vascular problems
- PodiaTherm to relieve nerve pain
- Revolutionary, noninvasive EPAT® (extracorporeal pulse activation technology) therapy to accelerate healing
- Vascular testing to diagnose peripheral artery disease (PAD)
We also perform surgical debridement (damaged tissue removal) and toe removal when necessary.
There’s no doubt you’re in the most capable, compassionate hands at Premier Foot & Ankle. If you live with diabetes and need foot care and treatment, we’re with you for the long term.
Call our Premier Foot & Ankle office most convenient to you and schedule an appointment today, or use our convenient online booking tool anytime.