November is National Diabetes Month 一 a time to focus on diabetes awareness, prevention, and treatment. Today, our team is discussing how diabetes affects your feet and what strategies you can implement to help avoid foot-related complications of diabetes.
Slow-healing wounds (ulcers) and peripheral neuropathy are two foot conditions common in those with diabetes. One of the most important ways you can reduce your risk of foot complications is to perform your own foot check every day. Daily foot inspections allow you to immediately spot red flags before small issues snowball into larger ones.
As a specialist in diabetic foot care, Sean Rosenblum, DPM, knows how important at-home foot care is if you have diabetes. Here are six steps to perform your own diabetic foot check, courtesy of our team here at Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic.
1. Inspect your whole foot
When you perform your daily foot check, be sure to inspect your whole foot, including the tops of your feet, your soles, the sides of your feet, and even between your toes. Look for any changes, including cuts, bruises, calluses, or blisters.
Tip: Use a small mirror to inspect the bottom of your foot if needed.
2. Look for changes in your skin
When you inspect your foot for any signs of cuts or blisters, look for changes in your skin texture too. Do you have any rough, dry, or scaly patches? Dry skin and fungal infections are both particularly problematic for those with diabetes.
If you have any dry spots, be sure to apply moisturizer to help prevent cracks from forming on your feet. If you suspect you have a fungal infection, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. We can help you eliminate stubborn fungal infections.
3. Feel for any changes
Once you’ve visually inspected your whole foot, run your hands over your foot to check for bumps, lumps, and coldness. Cold feet can indicate peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
4. Check your nails
Now it’s time to check your nails. Your nails should be trimmed evenly. Nails that are too long may inadvertently scratch your skin and contribute to slow-healing wounds. Let us know if your nails are yellowed, thickened, or crumbly, as that can be a sign of a nail infection.
5. Wash your feet daily
During your foot inspection, it’s a good time to wash and dry your feet. Use a gentle cleanser and a soft washcloth. Thoroughly dry your feet, especially between your toes. To help prevent cracks on your heels, apply a thick moisturizer (just not in between your toes).
6. Track any changes
Blisters and cuts can quickly become problematic, but some changes may develop more slowly. Keep track of any changes you notice and let us know.
Schedule a professional diabetic foot exam
While nothing replaces your daily foot exam, it’s important to schedule a professional diabetic foot care exam at Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic. During your diabetic foot exam, Dr. Rosenblum and our team review your health history and any symptoms you’re experiencing. Your exam may also include a toenail trim and removal of calluses. Depending on your specific needs, Dr. Rosenblum may also recommend:
- Wound debridement, if needed
- Fungal treatments for your athlete's foot or fungal nails
- Custom orthotic inserts
Honor National Diabetes Month and schedule your next diabetic foot exam. Call our Lodi, New Jersey office at 973-659-4099 or book an appointment online today.