Diabetes is a complex chronic condition characterized by the inability to make or use insulin, a vital hormone responsible for converting sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. Without insulin to properly utilize sugars, they can build up in the bloodstream and, over time, cause serious damage to other parts of the body—and your feet are particularly at risk for diabetes-related complications. Fortunately, proper foot care and regular visits with a skilled podiatrist can help diabetic patients keep nerve damage, ulcers, and other complications at bay. Here’s what you should know about diabetes and your feet, including how the knowledgeable and experienced foot and ankle specialists at Shenandoah Podiatry can help you keep your diabetic feet happy and healthy.
Common Diabetic Foot Concerns
Diabetes can wreak havoc on the feet and, as a result, people with diabetes can experience wide-ranging podiatric problems. Many such issues are driven by two key factors: nerve damage that dulls sensation, making it difficult to feel cuts, sores, and other injuries and poor circulation, which slows the healing process and increases the risk of infection. We provide prompt treatment for diabetes-related foot issues, such as:
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Corns and calluses
- Cracked skin
- Ingrown toenails
- Fungal toenails
- Slow-healing wounds
We can also address more serious diabetic foot complications, such as deformities like Charcot foot or the need for amputation to prevent a severe infection from spreading to other parts of the body.
Keeping Your Feet Healthy
When it comes to keeping diabetic feet looking and feeling their best, the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” rings true. The best way to avoid diabetic foot complications is to stay ahead of them. Here’s what you can do—and how we can help.
Develop a Daily Foot Care Routine
Diabetic feet need special care. Following a daily foot care routine like the one below can help your feet stay as healthy as possible.
- Wash your feet using lukewarm water and a gentle soap or cleanser. Pat your feet dry with a soft, clean towel, making sure to thoroughly dry between your toes.
- Apply a diabetic-safe lotion or moisturizer, but avoid applying the lotion between your toes.
- Never go barefoot.
- Wear clean, dry socks and supportive, well-fitting shoes with adequate cushioning.
Check Your Feet Every Day
Check your feet every day—even and especially when they feel fine. You can do this during your daily foot care routine or at night before bed. Use a mirror or ask a loved one for help if you can’t see the bottoms of your feet. Check for:
- Color or temperature changes
- Corns or calluses
- Sores or ulcers
- Cracked or dry skin
- Numbness or tingling
- Ingrown toenails
- Thick, yellow toenails (fungal nails)
- Hair loss on toes, legs, or feet
- Change in foot shape
- Discoloration, warmth, odor
- Anything new or different
If you find something concerning, contact your podiatrist. Daily foot checks let you catch problems in their earliest stages, when you have more—and better—treatment options.
Regular Visits With a Podiatrist
A podiatrist is an excellent addition to any diabetes management team. Regular visits with a podiatrist can help your feet stay healthier. In addition to advising you on healthy footwear and lifestyle choices, your podiatrist can also safely trim toenails, remove problem corns and calluses, and more.
Looking for a seasoned podiatrist for your diabetes care team? Look no further. Our doctors of podiatric medicine are highly skilled in all manner of diabetic foot care, including skin and nails. Ready to find out what we can do for your feet?
Schedule an Appointment
Partner with Shenandoah Podiatry to keep your diabetic feet healthy. Complete the online contact form or call our Roanoke, Virginia office at 540-904-1458 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced, diabetes-informed foot and ankle specialists.