Posts for category: Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are over 29 million people who live with diabetes in the U.S. They additionally estimate that 25% of individuals living with the disease do not even know they have it! With this being such a widespread illness, Congress even took note and put together the Medicare Diabetic Shoe Bill. This was an important step since diabetic shoes play a vital role in preventing serious complications.
When you live with diabetes, there are many facets to successfully managing the disease and preventing issues in your feet and lower limbs. You need to perform daily foot inspections, use proper hygiene practices, and keep your feet dry (but not too dry!). It can be a lot to handle, so don’t forget to reach out for the help our office can provide. One area of diabetic foot care that we will certainly assist you with is your choice in footwear and finding models that offer the appropriate benefits to you.
Diabetic shoes should achieve four key objectives:
- Relieve excessive pressure. This serves to prevent ulcers and skin breakdowns.
- Reduce shear and shock. The vertical force on your foot is known as shock, and shear is the horizontal movement within the shoe. Diabetic footwear decreases the negative effects of both.
- Stabilize, support, and accommodate deformities. For a variety of reasons, foot deformities—Charcot foot, hammertoes, amputations—can be common for individuals who have diabetes. As such, footwear must be able to decrease the risk of further damage and relieve any accompanying pain.
- Limit joint motion. This is a necessary function for reducing levels of pain and inflammation, and also to promote stability and foot function.
When it comes to diabetic shoe fitting, and all of your foot care needs, Central Arkansas Foot Care is here for you. We will assist you in finding the right diabetic shoes to keep you safe and avoid any serious medical complications. Managing diabetes is a heavy load, but let us help you carry it! Contact us today by calling our Hot Springs office at (501) 321-4844 or use our online form to request an appointment at either of our two central Arkansas locations.
May 21-24 are the dates for this year’s Arkansas Invitational Senior Softball Tournament. Kimery Park is home to the event—which features age brackets ranging from “young punks” (50+) all the way up to “golden oldies” (80+!)—and teams can qualify for national competition. Staying physically active into old age is great for your health, but a condition like neuropathy can make that difficult. Some think it only comes with diabetes, but there are actually a variety of causes.
This condition damages your nerves, which become either ineffective or unable to communicate with the brain. This situation often leads to sensations like burning or tingling, or even numbness in the feet. These symptoms typically develop gradually, instead of a sudden onset.
One of the main causes is diabetes. When this is the case, we often refer to the condition as diabetic neuropathy. It stems from the damage done to the tiny vessels that supply blood to the nerves caused by excess glucose. In turn, this situation becomes the biggest contributor to ulcers and other diabetic foot problems.
In addition to diabetes, there are a range of other causes including:
- Other medical issues. Diabetes might be most common, but chronic liver and kidney diseases, HIV and AIDS, cancer (especially lymphoma and multiple myeloma), and Lyme disease can also create the condition.
- Various medications. Nerve damage is a known side effect for certain medications used to treat cancer, HIV, arrhythmias, and low blood pressure.
- Vitamin deficiencies. When your body does not receive enough of certain vitamins—B-1, B-6, B-12, vitamin E, and niacin—you increase your risk of developing nerve problems.
- Alcoholism. Tying in with the previous cause, those who are inflicted with addiction issues often make poor dietary choices, which frequently lead to vitamin deficiencies.
- Exposure to toxins. Individuals who face repeated exposure to chemicals and heavy metals are more likely to incur nerve damage than those in the general population.
When you experience symptoms that accompany neuropathy—numbness, burning, pain—it is important to seek medical help. You can find the care and expertise you need here at Central Arkansas Foot Care. Simply fill out our online form or call either of our two locations to request your appointment today. You can reach our Hot Springs, AR office at (501) 321-4844, our Arkadelphia office at (870) 245-3003.
Photo Credit: Alexis via Pixabay.com
If you haven’t already, swing by The Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs—about 2 ½ miles up the road from our office on Central Ave—to check out the Arkansas Sculptors Guild Exhibition. Support our local art community and their contributions to our local culture. For the fine art of diabetes management, make sure you perform a daily foot check, giving your feet the same level of inspection and interest that you would an art exhibit.
A daily diabetic foot check is not that difficult, but it is crucial in heading off serious problems. When you do this, inspect both of your feet very carefully. If you cannot see the bottoms, ask a loved one for help or use a magnifying mirror. Issues you should look for include:
- Cuts and scratches. If you have damage to your skin, you are vulnerable to a potential infection.
- Dry skin. Skin that is excessively dry can lead to fissures and cracks.
- Ulcers, blisters, and warts. Any type of growth on your skin is a bad sign and you should make an appointment with our offices.
- Ingrown or discolored toenails. Fungal nails are already infected and ingrown nails pose the threat of leading to an infection your compromised immune system cannot fight.
In addition to checking for those issues, be sure to keep your feet clean. Wash them every day with warm (not hot!) water and mild soap and dry them thoroughly, including between your toes. Definitely wash your feet, but do not soak them. Doing so can pose a risk of infection if your skin breaks down. After you have dried them off, use moisturizer on the tops, bottoms, and heel areas, but not between your toes. If your skin becomes too dry, it can lead to cracks and fissures. Finally, have your toenails trimmed at our office to ensure decreased risk of growing an ingrown toenail.
If you are diabetic, you likely already have a diabetic foot care plan in place. If you don’t, make an appointment with Central Arkansas Foot Care and we will help you develop one that keeps you safe and reduces risk of dangerous complications. We have offices in Hot Springs, Malvern, and Arkadelphia, AR and you can find the respective numbers on our contact page, along with a form to reach us online.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net