As November is Diabetes Awareness Month, we thought it a fitting time to talk about the important role podiatrists play in diabetes prevention and management. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 100 million adults in America are diabetic or prediabetic. If you are one of these individuals, including a podiatrist on your healthcare team is crucial. Doing so reduces the rate of amputation by close to 80 percent. But there are a few steps you can take yourself to lower the chance of amputation, as well as diabetic ulcers:
- Check your feet every day. Inspect your feet and toes daily for any sores, bruises or cuts. You should also take note of any changes to the thickness or color of your toenails.
- Wear comfortable socks. Make sure the socks you wear are thick and soft. Stay away from socks with visible seams. These seams can rub your skin and cause chafing or blisters.
- Stay active. Engage in a healthy exercise regimen. Doing so can keep your weight in check and help with circulation. Going on a daily walk is a great place to start! But don’t forget to wear suitable shoes whenever you exercise.
- Get new shoes fitted. A properly fitting shoe is critical for individuals with diabetes. Keep in mind, the shape and size of your foot may change over time. So get each new pair measured and fitted to your feet.
- Avoid walking barefoot. Even when walking around your own house, try to wear shoes at all times. Those with diabetes are at a greater risk when experiencing injuries, and subsequent infections, to the feet.
- Don’t attempt your own removals. We’re talking blisters, corns, calluses, etc. If you come across one of these irritants, don’t try to remove it by yourself. Products for removal that you can buy over-the-counter can burn your skin, causing irreparable damage to the foot of someone with diabetes.
- Make regular appointments with a podiatrist. Seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis is the best way to maintain healthy feet.
Recently Diagnosed with Diabetes or Prediabetes?
A recent diagnosis can feel overwhelming. Regular appointments with a podiatrist can alleviate some of your stress. A podiatrist can show you the tools you need to live a fit and content life in spite of your diagnosis. How? Well, a podiatrist can keep you away from foot-related complications, such as peripheral neuropathy and diabetic foot ulcers. According to the American Diabetes Association, 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes will develop the former, and 15 percent of patients will experience the latter. But maintenance and prevention are possible.
You don’t need to feel controlled by your diabetes diagnosis. Including Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle on your healthcare team can help, not only with your diabetes management but your quality of life. Our expert team offers foot education and assistance for those with diabetes. Make sure you get the tools you need, make an appointment today!