As a diabetic, you have a greater chance of developing complications in your feet. In fact, about 50% of diabetics develop debilitating foot pain while at least 10% develop foot ulcers.
The good news? There are steps you can take to prevent diabetic foot problems before they start. The team of experienced podiatrists at City Podiatry are committed to providing patients in Midtown, New York City, the best in diabetic foot care — including preventive measures.
Read on to learn what you need to know to stop diabetic foot problems from developing!
What causes diabetic foot problems?
The root cause of diabetic foot problems is uncontrolled blood sugar. Over time, high blood sugar damages your nerves and circulatory system, leading to diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. These conditions, in turn, can lead to more foot problems.
The nerve damage caused by diabetic neuropathy leads to a loss of feeling and sensation in your feet. Because you can’t feel when your foot is cut, irritated, or develops blisters, there’s a higher risk that these wounds become infected and gangrene can develop, putting you at risk for amputation.
The damage to your circulatory system and blood vessels uncontrolled diabetes can cause leads to peripheral vascular disease. When you have this condition, the blocked blood vessels in your extremities prevent your feet from getting enough blood. The result? Any wounds you get are slower to heal and more prone to infection.
How can I prevent diabetic foot problems?
Although diabetes puts you at a higher risk of developing foot problems, there are steps you can take to mitigate this risk. Here are our top tips:
Control your blood sugar
Keeping your blood sugar under control is the first step in preventing diabetic foot problems. Research shows that diabetics who keep their blood sugar managed prevent nerve damage and reduce pain and further damage in existing neuropathy patients.
Adjust your diet to help control the sugar released into your bloodstream after you eat and drink. Oral medications and insulin can also help manage your glucose levels before and after meals.
Practice good foot hygiene
Every day, inspect the sides, bottom, and tops of your feet as well as your heels and toes. Look for any signs of irritation to help prevent more serious wounds from forming. Wash your feet regularly in warm, soapy water and be sure to dry feet thoroughly — especially between your toes!
You’ll also want to keep your toenails trimmed straight across to prevent ingrown toenails. And be sure to moisturize your feet regularly to keep rough, dry skin at bay. If you need help with foot care, the team at City Podiatry can help.
When your heart rate and blood flow are increased, circulation improves all over your body. That’s why regular exercise can help combat the effects of poor blood flow and damaged nerves that diabetes can cause.
You don’t have to take up running to benefit from exercise. Studies indicate that a regular walking program can stop diabetic neuropathy from forming and slow its progress in patients already exhibiting symptoms.
Need more reasons to exercise? Regular exercise helps reduce blood sugar. This makes managing diabetes and controlling your blood sugar easier than with diet alone.
Be sure to clear any exercise program with your doctor before getting started.
Choose diabetes-friendly shoes
When you have diabetes, it’s important to choose footwear that fits you correctly. This helps prevent blisters and other small foot wounds from forming. Some diabetic patients find the best footwear includes specially crafted diabetic shoes and inserts.
When you shop for shoes, be sure to go later in the day to take any swelling into account. Look for shoes made from materials, like soft leather, which can accommodate changes in your feet due to swelling. And be sure to wear socks with your shoes!
By putting these tips into practice, you can lead a healthier, more active life and reduce your chances of experiencing debilitating foot problems.
How can I learn more about diabetic foot care?
At City Podiatry, we provide advice and support to help you care for your feet. We work with you to help prevent diabetic foot problems from starting, and routine foot checks help ensure any problems that do start are caught early.
The American Diabetes Association recommends podiatric check-ins every six months. If you’ve developed foot issues already, seek care more frequently. Our team can advise you when and how often you should come in for diabetic foot care and help you work to prevent further problems from arising.
For help with diabetic foot care, contact our Midtown, NYC office or request an appointment online now! We also offer convenient video visits so you can get care from the convenience of your own home.