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Diabetic Foot Care

After a diabetes diagnosis, there’s a lot to manage. It can be overwhelming to think about staying on top of blood sugar, eating healthy foods, finding time to be active, taking medications on time, and attending additional doctor appointments.

With so much on your mind, the last thing you may be thinking about is foot care. But daily care is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications. About half of all people with diabetes have some kind of nerve damage. While nerve damage can happen in any part of the body, nerves in the feet and legs are often affected leading to lose of feeling in your feet.

Some people with nerve damage experience numbness, tingling, or pain, while other have no symptoms. Living without pain may sound good, but it comes at a high cost. Nerve damage lowers ability to feel pain, heat, or cold. Pain is the body’s way of expressing that something is wrong. If someone doesn’t feel pain in their feet, they may not notice a cut, blister, sore, or other more extreme problem that can become serious if not treated early.

The following includes foot care tips provided by Southwest Health’s podiatrist, Moiz Hassan, DPM, FACFAS.

  1. Take care of your diabetes. Work with your healthcare team to keep your blood sugar within a good range. [insert what a good range would be]
  2. Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling. If you have trouble looking at your feet, use a mirror to the bottom of your feet or ask a family member to help.
  3. Wash your feet every day. Clean your feet in warm, but not hot, water every day. After cleaning, dry your feet well especially between the toes.
  4. Smooth corns and calluses gently. Even if your feet are at a low risk for additional concerns, still use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses. Do not rub your skin too vigorously. Don’t use over-the-counter products or sharp objects on corns and calluses.
  5. Trim toenails weekly or when needed. It’s recommended to trim your toenails straight across and not into the corners of the nail.
  6. Never go barefoot. Wearing protective footwear at all times, even on the beach, swimming pool, and on hot pavement. Comfortable shoes that fit well will protect your feet if the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside. 
  7. Keep blood flowing. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, 2-3 times per day. It’s important to not cross your legs for long periods of time.
  8. Don’t smoke. If you currently smoke, consider stopping or lowering your intake.
  9. Go to your doctor appointments. Have your provider or podiatrist check your bare feet and determine whether you’re likely to have serious foot problems. Remember that you may not feel pain if there’s an injury due to nerve damage.

If you’ve been dealing with foot pain or concerns for awhile, you may not know when it’s time to see your doctor. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t wait for your next appointment. Schedule an appointment right away.

  • Pain in your legs or cramping in your buttocks, thighs, or calves during physical activity
  • Tingling, burning, or pain in your feet
  • Loss of sense of touch or ability to feel heat or cold very well
  • A change in the shape of your feet over time
  • Loss of hair on your toes, feet, and lower legs
  • Dry, cracked skin on your feet
  • A change in the color and temperature of your feet
  • Thickened, yellow toenails
  • Fungus infections such as athlete’s foot between your toes
  • A blister, sore, ulcer, infected corn, or ingrown toenail

Most people with diabetes can prevent serious foot complications. Regular at-home care and going to all doctor’s appointments set you up for optimal outcomes for preventing foot problems and stopping small problems from becoming serious ones.

If you’re concerned about your diabetes and how it affects your feet, consider making an appointment to speak with a foot specialist. Southwest Health as a podiatrist seeing patients in Platteville, Wisconsin.

Dr. Moiz Hassan was born and raised in a northern suburb of Chicago, where he attended four years of medical school at Rosalind Franklin University, earning his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree. He completed his three-year surgical residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where he served as the chief resident in his final year. His surgical training is extensive, with expertise in all aspects of foot and ankle reconstructive surgery.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hassan, call Southwest Health’s Orthopedic Institute at (608) 342-6210.

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