About 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes, a potentially life-threatening and complicated disease. What many diabetics are not aware of, though, is the importance of the health of their feet. But why is foot care so crucial to living with diabetes? Find out with help from your Livonia, MI podiatrist at Nationwide Foot & Ankle Care.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition which affects the production of insulin in the body. Those suffering from Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile or early-onset diabetes, do not produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes patients do not produce sufficient insulin or the cells in their body do not react to insulin. Type 2 diabetes is about 9 times more common than Type 1, with many patients able to control their disease by losing weight, exercising properly and maintaining a healthy diet.
Why is diabetic foot care important?
Diabetes affects nerve function, especially in the extremities. This makes it difficult for diabetics to feel sores, cuts, corns and other foot-related injuries. This nerve damage, in turn, leads to decreased circulation, making it more difficult for the body to heal these wounds. Foot sores or cuts can snowball into something much more grave, making their prevention key in staying healthy while living with diabetes.
How can I properly care for my feet?
- Daily Inspection: Be sure to inspect your feet every day before you put your shoes on. Check for any cuts, scrapes, bruising or irritation.
- Shoes: It is important to wear comfortable shoes with a big enough toe box to avoid any irritation. Additionally, be sure to shake your shoes out before putting them on to be sure they are free of foreign objects which could cause cuts or sores.
- Toenails: Cut your toenails straight across and file down the edges. This prevents ingrown toenails, which can cause many complications for a diabetic with decreased feeling in their toes.
- Regular Foot Exams: The best tool you have against foot complications is to visit your podiatrist for regular foot exams. Your doctor can help you determine how frequently you visit and the best course of treatment for your foot injuries.
For more information on diabetes and the health of your feet, please contact Dr. Randy Bernstein, DPM at Nationwide Foot & Ankle Care in Livonia, MI. Call (734) 261-3400 to speak with an associate to schedule your foot exam today!