by Dr. David R. Northcutt
Dr. David Northcutt is a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Dallas Podiatry Works in TX.
My name is Dr. David Northcutt and I’m here to discuss diabetic foot care. When you have diabetes, there are several things you need to watch for and to be careful of in regards to your foot health.
To start with, once you have a diagnosis of diabetes, you should participate in a diabetes education program to help educate yourself or at least prevent complications from having diabetes. People with diabetes can develop serious foot problems due to a decrease in the blood flow to the feet, known as peripheral vascular disease, or peripheral arterial disease.
This loss of blood flow can result in tissue damage and even gangrene. Periodic foot evaluations by a physician can help you catch signs and symptoms of this early, to try to prevent further tissue damage. Loss of sensation in the feet, due to nerve damage, can also occur, which is known as neuropathy. Neuropathy can result in burning, and other pains in the feet, even a complete loss of sensation in the feet, ankles, and sometimes even the legs. This can lead to limbs or infections you may not feel, or may not be aware of until it may be too late.
You should look at all areas of your feet every day, particularly in between the toes. You should notify your doctor if you see new areas of redness, swelling, discoloration, any new pain in your calves or feet while walking, any signs of ingrown toenails, any puncture wounds, or any corns or calluses, particularly if they are discolored.
Some of the good points to keep in mind is to always dry between your toes. You should avoid use of chemical corn removers, and you should always check inside your shoes for any foreign objects before you put them on. You should always wear shoes and please do not walk barefoot on potentially hot surfaces like beaches or sidewalks in the summer.
One last thing that diabetics should not do is use heating pads or place your feet next to a heater to warm them, as this can result in severe burns that you may not feel. In regards to footwear, it’s important to wear shoes that fit your feet.
It is best to be fitted for and try on new shoes towards the end of the day. Your feet should be measured each time you purchase new shoes. Typically, our feet elongate and widen as we age, so what used to be a size 7, normal width, may end up being a size 8 wide.
In summary, the most important aspect of diabetic foot care is to check your feet daily as this helps to catch problems early, which always makes them easier to treat.
If you have questions regarding diabetic foot care, or have noticed any changes to your feet, please schedule an appointment with us here at Dallas Podiatry Works. All of us here would love to be a part of your health care team.