Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes is one of the largest growing diseases in North America. The effects of diabetes can effect many areas of the body, due to poor circulation in diabetics it is crucial to take proper care of your feet and prevent ulcerations. Ulcerations are one of the main causes of diabetics being admitted to the hospital each year, the feet being the most commonly ulcerated area. This is due to the lack of blood flow to the feet. Poor circulation can cause many issues and concerns including neuropathy, thin skin, loss of hair, dry cracking skin, and callussing. Nearly 75% of diabetics are effected by neuropathy. Neuropathy is the loss of feeling or sensation to an area of the body. Generally Diabetics will begin to experience neuropathy in the their feet first, then the legs, and hands. This can cause poor balance and the inability to recognize injury or pain. Something as simple as stubbing your toe or wearing the wrong size shoe may go unrecognized by a diabetic that experiences neuropathy. If a situation like this occurs an ulceration can form. Ulcerations are very hard to heal as their is a lack of circulation to the area that is trying to heal. If left untreated gangrene may infect the area which often times results in the amputation of the effected area. Their are over 85,000 amputations annually due to ulcerations of the diabetic foot. Most of these where probably preventable with proper foot care, proper fitting footwear, and good foot health. Studies have shown that after having an amputation the risk of having another is greatly increased. This simply increases the importance of preventitive foot care in people diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetic shoes are an important factor in preventing callussing and ulceration. What is a diabetic shoe? Diabetic shoes are not completely different than your normal shoe except some strict requirements that enable a shoe to be classified as a diabetic shoe by Medicare and the FDA. The main requirements of a diabetic shoe are that it is available in at least 3 different widths, has eitheir a tie or velcro closure, removable inserts, and are proffessionally fitted by a Certfied Pedorthist, or Podiatrist to insure proper fitment and function to protect the feet from possible ulceration or to aid in the treatment of callussing, ulceration, or other conditions related to diabetes effects of the feet. For more information on diabetic shoes please see the Diabetic shoes tab on the navigation bar of this webpage.

Lack of mobility can often times hinder a persons ability to perform tasks that where once simple to them. Trimming your toe nails, tieing your shoes, and inspecting the bottom of your feet can become hard or not possible. If you have problems with mobility and have trouble with trimming your nails or inspecting your feet you should see a podiatrist for all foot care. They are able to trim to nails, callussing, and inform you of potential concerns, and educate you on daily procedures you can use to protect your feet from the effects diabetes can cause.

If you are diabetic it is reccommended that you see a specialized physician for the treatment of the disease. Ask your doctor to check your feet each visit to insure you are not at risk of any of these conditions. As well as seeing your general physician it is reccommended to see a podiatrist or foot care specialist at least once a year.

If you do not have a diabetic doctor or podiatrist you are able to contact Corey's Bootery for a recommendation or see the list of Podiatrists under the Foot health tab for more information.

The Borgess Diabetes Center has compiled a 10 step system to help insure you are taking proper care of your feet. If you are interested in seeing a Foot specialists from borgess for proper foot care, nail trimming and much more see the contact information provided at the bottom of this page.

If you have diabetes, nerve damage can cause loss of feeling in your feet, leading to ulcers, sores, injuries, and in some cases, amputation. To ensure your feet stay as healthy as possible, the Borgess Diabetes Center recommends following these steps:

Step 1: If you smoke, quit. Smoking increases your risk of suffering from diabetes-related complications, including foot/circulation problems, heart attack and stroke.

Step 2: Inspect your feet thoroughly every day. Look between toes for blisters, cuts and scratches. If your vision is impaired, have a friend or family member inspect your feet and trim your nails.

Step 3: Carefully wash and dry your feet daily. While skin is soft (after washing), calluses can be gently buffed with a pumice stone to reduce their size. Do not attempt to cut or trim calluses with anything sharp.

Step 4: Avoid extreme temperatures. Be sure to test water with your elbow or a thermometer before bathing, and do not walk barefoot, especially on hot surfaces (e.g., sandy beaches).

Step 5: If your feet feel cold at night, wear socks instead of using hot water bottles or heating pads.

Step 6: Before putting on shoes, look inside them for foreign objects, nail points and torn linings. Don't wear shoes without socks.

Step 7: Change socks daily. Do not wear socks with seams, holes or tears.

Step 8: Purchase shoes that fit well and feel comfortable. Don't depend on them to stretch out. When purchasing new shoes, try them on in the evening, when feet are the widest. Avoid buying or wearing sandals with thongs between the toes (e.g., flip-flops).

Step 9: Cut nails straight across. Never cut corns or calluses, or use chemical agents to remove them. Follow the advice of your physician or podiatrist.

Step 10: See your physician or podiatrist regularly for foot examinations.

Borgess Diabetes Center
1722 Shaffer Street Suite 3
Kalamazoo, MI 49048