According to the American Diabetes Association, about 15.7 million people (5.9 percent of the United States population) have diabetes.
People with diabetes are prone to having foot problems often because of two complications: nerve damage(neuropathy) and poor circulation. Neuropathy causes loss of feeling in the feet, reducing the ability to feel pain and detect injuries, irritations, cuts and bruises. Poor circulation reduces healing ability, and increasing the chance of infection.
Diabetes-related Foot and Leg Problems
- Infections and ulcers that do not heal.
- Dry cracked skin which lead to infections
- Hammertoes and bunions caused by nerve damage causing muscle weaknenss and loss of tone in the foot
- Charcot foot: A complex foot deformity that develops as a result of loss of sensation and an undetected broken bone that lead to destruction of the soft tissue of the foot. Because of neuropathy, the pain of the fracture goes unnoticed and the patient continues to walk on the broken bones, making it worse. This disabling complication is so severe that surgery and occasionally amputation is necessary.
- Poor circulation that may prevent wound to heal, causing tissue death and possible amputation
Diabetic Foot Care Guidelines
- Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems.
- Never walk barefoot. Walking barefoot increases chances to bump or injure the foot.
- Bathe in lukewarm (not hot) water. Check the water temperature before bathing or showering to make sure it is not too hot.
- Inspect the toes and between the toes daily for blisters, cuts, scrapes, etc. If needed a mirror may be helpful inspecting hard to see areas.
- Wash your feet daily with a mild soap
- Dry well between your toes to avoid moisture buildup and athlete’s foot.
- Apply moisturizer to your feet daily, but do not apply the moisturizer between your toes.
- Do not use heating pad or hot water bottles. If your feet are cold at bedtime, wear a warm pair of socks.
- Never treat corns or calluses yourself or apply over the counter medicated products to corns calluses or nails.
- Inspect your shoes daily for foreign objects, nails, uneven seams or linings
- Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
- Avoid the wrong type of socks. Avoid tight elastic bands that can reduce circulation.
- Don’t smoke
- Cut nails straight across and file the edges.
- Never treat corns or calluses yourself
Diabetic shoes are made of soft shoe materials and special protective inserts to decrease the chance of ulcers, which can lead to infection, gangrene and amputation.
Many health insurance plans including MEDICARE pay for Diabetic Shoes.
At our office, we can prescribe the appropriate shoe for you and in many cases measure and dispense Diabetic shoes. Contact us for more information about Diabetic shoes.