Patients who have diabetes must be very careful to prevent and immediately treat any foot infections and ulcers that develop. Oftentimes these can go undetected due to the lack of sensation in the feet caused by neuropathy. Decreased blood circulation is also common in diabetics, and this causes the immune system to work less efficiently allowing wounds to develop. This can become a severe problem when infected ulcers spread to the bones in the foot and unfortunately lead to the amputation of a toe, foot, or even an entire lower leg.
To avoid and minimize the chances of ulcers occurring, see your foot doctor for regular check- ups and be sure to practice proper foot care with the following tips:
- Regular foot exams - Carefully inspect your feet for any cuts, scrapes, punctures, or bruises. A mirror can come in handy for inspecting the bottoms of your feet. This is where many foot ulcers begin, so make sure you do a good inspection.
- Carefully wash and dry your feet at least once a day - Keeping your feet clean and dry helps to avoid the build-up of harmful pathogens. Always wash with a mild soap and warm water to avoid burns and blisters.
- Manage your disease - Follow dietary guidelines and monitor your glucose levels regularly.
- Stop smoking tobacco - Nicotine constricts blood vessels, with a resultant decrease in blood circulation that can slow the process of wound healing.
- Wear comfortable and supportive shoes - Consult with your foot care specialist about specially designed shoes for those patients who have diabetes.
- Custom orthotic inserts and braces – Employ these devices for added stability.
- Greatly decrease or stop imbibing alcohol - Nerve damage and decreased balance and coordination caused by drinking alcohol can cause many problems, so it is best to stop.
If you notice a wound on your foot that isn’t healing properly, seek medical attention right away. We highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!