Love Your Feet: Prevent Diabetic Ulcers
You might not realize it until it is too late. We all tend to neglect our feet even though they do so much for us. They are so far away, hard to get a good look at, and most people don’t even like to touch their own feet! But your feet are very important not only because they carry you everywhere but also because feet can be an indicator of your glucose control and diabetes progression. Taking care of your feet gives you a payoff that you might not ever realize because it protects you from dealing with painful consequences. But if you don’t take care of your feet, you will certainly know it! Diabetic ulcers are the most common foot injuries that lead to amputation in the lower body. Two of the most common risk factors for getting an ulcer are diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) and peripheral arterial occlusive disease (poor circulation). Even if you don’t have one of these complications, it is crucial for you to care for your feet to prevent them. An ulcer, cut, or sore doesn’t heal as quickly for someone with diabetes, especially diabetes that is not controlled well. Extra glucose in blood stops collagen and anti-inflammatory molecules from working properly, so the wounds heal very slowly or not at all. The wound deepens, gets infected, cells die, and sometimes the foot has to be amputated. The best way to prevent this from happening is to follow these guidelines daily. Become an investigator of your feet-Use your eyes and hands to get familiar with the way your feet look and feel. If something is unusual or hurt, you will notice. Give your feet tender love and care-Wash your feet daily with mild soap and water, and dry them thoroughly to prevent extra moisture. (Don’t forget in between your toes!) Rub on some lotion. Keep your nails trim and filed. Set up your feet in the luxury suite with shoes and socks-If your shoes leave your feet vulnerable for an accidental stomping, a stubbed toe, a falling projectile, or any mistreatment, wear different shoes. Wear cushy socks or diabetic socks. Protect your feet all the time. Break in new shoes slowly. Wear practical shoes instead of fashionable shoes-Shoes too small will decrease blood flow which is not a good thing. Shoes too big will bang against your feet and cause friction. And shoes that are cute but uncomfortable are just asking for trouble. Look for cute shoes with sturdy heels, cushioning, and support. Heal whatever is hurt-If you do find a cut from getting out of the shower, a blister from a long hike, a raised red spot from tight shoes, a puncture from a nail gun (Oh I hope not!!), take care of it immediately. Get medical attention if you don’t know how to care for the wound, if it doesn’t heal within 7 days, or if it gets worse/infected. Show your beautiful feet to your doctor!-Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. The condition of your feet and extremities is tremendously important to you and should be important to you doctor. Tell your doctor about any cuts, bruises, blisters, etc. If he or she forgets to check your feet, bust ‘em out. It is just as important for you doctor to evaluate the bumps, skin thickness, and sensory feeling of your feet as it is for you to check them everyday. The number one best way to prevent any foot problems is to keep your blood sugars within your goal range. Get into a routine of caring for you feet. You will feel better and never have to deal with the painful complications. Love those feet. They deserve it!