Did you know that diabetes can affect not only your blood sugar levels, but can also be damaging to your kidneys, eyes, nerves, and feet? In fact, for those who do not have severe symptoms, losing feeling in the feet can be the first sign of diabetes. After an assessment by a podiatrist or other medical professional, patients with this condition, known as neuropathy, in the feet can eventually be diagnosed with diabetes.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Neuropathy is a result of nerve damage due to high levels of blood sugar. It can have effects beyond a loss of sensation – it can lead to reduced circulation and healing, because your body can no longer communicate properly to serve your feet’s needs. The smallest cuts or injuries can become larger issues, such as ulcers. That’s why it’s important to take care of your feet, whether or not you have diabetes. After all, about 10% of the US population has diabetes (including those who are not yet diagnosed).
The following are diabetic foot exam steps that you can perform on your own. It can help you to find signs of diabetes-related foot problems that you can treat sooner, rather than later. If you have already lost sensation in your feet, be sure to check your feet daily:
- Whether or not you have diabetes, be sure to keep up with foot hygiene. Wash your feet daily with soap and warm water to prevent infections.
- Visually inspect your feet. Look for any skin changes, cuts, rashes, or bruises you may not have realized you have. Be sure to look at the feet from all angles – top, bottom, both sides, front, and back. If you are not flexible enough to turn your foot up so you can see the bottom, use a mirror or ask a family member to check for you.
- Touch every part of your foot. Lightly press on all parts of your feet to check for swelling or bruising. Also take note of the skin on your feet and check for temperature variation, dryness, calluses, or bumps from rashes or bony spurs. Be sure to moisturize dry skin on your feet and ankles, but don’t put any lotion in between the toes as this can cause fungal infection.
Foot care for diabetics is very important. If you notice any changes in your feet, consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works right away. He will assess your feet and ankles to see what treatment you may need. Since an unnoticed problem can become way worse and more difficult to treat, it’s important that you make an appointment today at any of our offices in Abrams (Dallas), Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX!