American Diabetes Month is the perfect opportunity to educate yourself and others on the risks and conditions related to diabetes, which results in chronic high blood glucose levels. There are over 30 million Americans who have diabetes, and as a result, are at risk for many complications. Foot complications are especially common due to nerve damage that can cause numbness, tingling, pain and discomfort in the extremities. Injuries that go unnoticed can quickly worsen, heal slowly, and even lead to amputation, so prevention is a key component of diabetic foot care.
One of the most important things someone with diabetes can do is to examine his or her own feet everyday to check for abnormalities. Follow these steps:
- Wash and dry your feet, including in between the toes.
- Position your foot so that you can see all areas easily, such as placing a foot across your lap. Using a small mirror can often help for difficult areas.
- Check the balls of your feet for corns, calluses, or other skin deformities that may have developed.
- Check the heels and arches for dry, cracked skin and other injuries that could develop into ulcers.
- Do a visual inspection of your feet to look for any bruises, cuts, blisters or signs of infection.
- Feel your feet to check for lumps or changes in temperature.
- Inspect your toenails for discoloration, ingrown toenails, flaking or thickness, and check your toes for blood circulation by pressing on the balls of the toes and waiting for the color to return.
- Take note of any abnormalities or concerns.
In addition to frequent foot exams, it is important for people with diabetes to see a foot care specialist for a more comprehensive foot exam. Podiatrists can help lower risks for developing foot complications by recommending prescription shoes, custom orthotics and foot care tips. Dr. Russell Samofal of Podiatry Center of New Jersey specializes in all aspects of diabetic foot care and is committed to improving each individual’s foot health. Call our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 to schedule an appointment!