Care of the Diabetic Foot
by Marc Mitnick DPM
diabetic foot exam
If you have diabetes it is essential that you look at your feet every day and conduct a brief examination. This is because minor problems like scratches can become infections, that can lead to an infection of the whole foot and that could lead to hospital admission if that doesn't resolve very quickly .
If you cannot check your own feet and it may not be possible because you simply cannot see the bottom of the foot, for example, then you could use a mirror or you could ask a member of your family to look at the bottom of your foot and in between the toes on a regular basis .
Wash your feet daily with soap and water and be sure to dry them especially in between the toes to prevent any macerated areas that can become infected.
Additionally see whether you can feel yourself touching your various toes on both your feet just using your index finger that's all you need to do and you should be easily be able to feel light touch, if you cannot that can indicate early nerve damage and it's very important that you pick that up and then report that to your doctor .
You should also be looking for cracks in the skin or red areas; maybe the shoes have rubbed a little bit. Check for cracks in the heels and when you use medication on them you need to be careful you're using things that are good for people with diabetes some of them can be quite strong and maybe do more harm than good.
In relation to looking after your own feet there are several aspects of care that you need to be aware of first of all you must wear comfortable shoes. If shoes are tight they're very likely to create too much pressure on the skin resulting infection and even ulceration, so shoes must be of a good quality so that the weight of the body is evenly distributed around the foot and there is no significant pressure around a particular small part of the foot.
It is also important to have good quality socks because if your socks have seams that are too prominent they can bite into the skin and that can result in damage to the skin.
You also need to make sure that you avoid treading on sharp objects so for example when you go to the beach it's very important that you don't walk barefooted . You may even get heat damage if the sand is too hot such as third degree burns.
Make sure your nails are never too long as they can cut into the adjacent toes and cause irritation leading to infection.
Be on the lookout for some common features that can indicate early problems with the foot and these are going to be a foot that is too hot, a foot that is too cold, a foot that is swollen, a foot that is misshapen, and clearly you need to look out for any breaks in the skin and these could just be cuts and abrasions or distinct ulcers .
When it comes to corns or callus formation it's tempting to start removing it yourself at home. Do not use sharp instruments on your own feet, make sure you get professional advice on how to deal with callus formation because if you use a sharp object it's very easy for the foot to become infected.
If you think that you have any foot problem so--that's numbness an infection a break in the skin swelling you must seek medical advice from your medical doctor or podiatrist.