Why Taking Care Of Your Feet Is Important For People With Diabetes

July 21, 2020

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Charles Marchese, M.D. contributes to topics such as Podiatry.

Most people with diabetes understand that proper nutrition is a major component of staying healthy, but did you know that taking care of your feet can also help you avoid complications down the road?

“Around 34 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. 1 in 4 people with diabetes will experience a foot ulcer. 40% of people with a healed diabetic foot ulcer will develop a new ulcer within a year. 15% of diabetic foot ulcers progress to amputation.* The best way to not become a statistic is prevention and with early intervention, complications can be avoided,” says Charles Marchese, M.D., a podiatrist at the Wound Center at Bayshore Medical Center.

It is important that you schedule one to two visits with your podiatrist every year and discuss nutrition and foot care options that can increase wound healing. A few minutes spent focusing on proper nutrition and foot maintenance can go a long way as you try to recover.

What is proper foot care for diabetics?

Because diabetes often effects circulation, neuropathy can develop making you more susceptible to infection. Because of this, diabetics need to be more conscious of proper foot care. Here’s a few things you can do to help ensure your feet are healthy:

  • Inspect feet daily for any malformations
  • Wash feet daily, making sure to use lukewarm water
    (Never use hot water and always check temperature with your hands before getting in)
  • After bathing, be sure to thoroughly dry your feet
  • Moisturize feet (not between toes)
  • Never cut corns or calluses at home
  • Never use over-the-counter products without consulting with your doctor first
  • Always wear clean, dry socks and proper fitting shoes
  • Always check your shoes to ensure that there is no debris inside before putting it on

When should diabetic patients seek help from a podiatrist?

People with diabetes should set up recurring visits with their doctor to ensure that they are inspecting their feet properly and that wounds do not develop or persist.

“Most of the patients we see at the Center for Wound Healing come in for treatment after a wound has been present for some time, this delay in care can adversely affect their healing and add to complicated course of care,” says Dr. Marchese. “I mostly see chronic wounds that become difficult to heal because of delayed referral. All Doctors can treat wounds but not all doctors are trained to treat ulcers or other open wounds, so it’s crucial that when a wound develops, you seek guidance from a wound care specialist. The sooner patients come in, the better the outcome.”

What helps diabetic foot wounds heal faster?

Keeping your blood glucose level under control and knowing your HbA1c at all times are two essential ways to promote wound healing, according to Dr. Marchese. Keeping your hypertension, cholesterol and heart disease at manageable levels so that circulation does not become impaired in your feet is also critical. Proper nutrition is essential in maintaining your blood sugar and in maintaining the optimal environment at the cellular level, which will also help your wounds to heal properly and in a timely manner. “I always tell my patients that if you have neuropathy, you have to learn to feel with your eyes, since neuropathy can deprive you of the ability to feel your feet,” says Dr. Marchese. “Be more aware of your surroundings and where you step and put your feet.”

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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.