It’s estimated that more than 29 million people in the United States currently have diabetes. Of these, over 25% have not been officially diagnosed and therefore may be at risk for the complications that accompany diabetes and not even realize it. At Gentle Professional Foot Care wound treatment for diabetic patients is a top priority. The first step is teaching patients to be vigilant about detecting foot wounds.
Injured but Unaware
Diabetes deals patients a one, two punch. First, due to circulatory and immune system deficiencies injuries and wounds are slow to heal and can rapidly become dangerous infections that can result in amputation and even death. To make matters worse, another common condition associated with diabetes is neuropathy or nerve damage. This results in a decrease in the ability to perceive sensations such as pain or burning and therefore diabetic patients can sustain an injury and not even realize it until it is already well on its way to becoming infected. Injuries to the feet and toes, where the blood has to travel the furthest to in the body, pose a major medical threat.
All this means that patients with diabetes need to take special care to prevent injuries to the foot, including:
- Not going barefoot. Even at home, diabetic patients should wear shoes to protect feet from puncture wounds and cuts by stepping on a sharp object or from stubbing toes and banging feet on furniture or other obstacles.
- Making sure shoes fit properly. Get your foot professionally measured and consider footwear specifically designed for people with diabetes. Soft materials and roomy toe boxes are essential to prevent friction and pressure which can result in blisters, calluses or corns—all of which can turn into open sores.
- Good hygiene and nail care. Washing your feet daily and drying them completely (including between the toes) can reduce the chance of athlete’s foot and fungal infections. Keep nails trimmed straight across, with no curved or rough edges. Ingrown toenails are another risk to patients with diabetes.
If you are a patient with diabetes it’s essential that you or someone in your family inspect your feet daily for visual signs of an injury or developing wound. If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes but have a cut or wound on your foot that will not heal, contact us for an appointment at our Venice office as soon as possible by calling: 941-493-7999. Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, will examine your foot and can perform a comprehensive neurologic, vascular and orthopedic exam to assess your condition.