Regular Foot Care is an Important Step for People with Diabetes
Minor foot problems, such as blisters or cuts, can cause serious complications in people with diabetes. The good news is that you can prevent many diabetes-related foot complications with good blood sugar control and everyday foot care.
“Early identification of foot problems and intervention to prevent problems from worsening can avert many amputations,” said Joseph Donnelly, DPM, a podiatrist on staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and co-medical director of the Lourdes Center for Advanced Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. “Good foot care is an essential part of diabetes management.”
How to Care for Your Feet
Dr. Donnelly suggests the following foot-care tips:
- Inspect the skin and nails on each foot daily. Carefully check for cuts, blisters, calluses, corns, ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot, redness and swelling. Use a handheld mirror or ask someone to help you examine hard-to-see or hard-to-reach places.
- Use warm–not hot–water to wash your feet daily. Do not soak them. Dry each foot well, particularly between your toes. Apply a moisturizing lotion to the tops and bottoms of your feet, but keep the skin between your toes dry.
- Give your feet a break several times a day. Take your shoes off and elevate your feet. Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
- See your podiatrist for regular nail care.
- Avoid temperature extremes, such as heating pads and hot water bottles. Wear socks to bed if your feet are cold. If you have loss of feeling in your feet, ask your doctor before using an electric blanket or heating pad.
- Choose footwear that is easy on your feet, such as cotton or woolen socks and well-fitted athletic or walking shoes. Check inside your shoes before putting them on for pebbles or other small objects. Avoid high heels, pointed toes and sandals. Never walk barefoot, even indoors.
When to See Your Doctor
“If you notice any changes in your feet, or develop even a minor problem, such as a cut or blister, get prompt treatment from your doctor or a foot care specialist. Be sure to report any loss of feeling in your feet, changes in their color or shape or signs of infection, such as athlete’s foot,” Dr. Donnelly said. “With routine foot care and regular foot examinations by your doctor, you can keep your feet healthy.”
To reach the hyperbaric medicine unit at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, call 609-835-3680. At Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, call 856-668-8475.
Joseph Donnelly, DPM
For more information about Dr. Donnelly or another Lourdes expert, call 1-888-LOURDES (568-7337) or visit the Lourdes Health System Web site at www.lourdesnet.org and click on “Find a Physician.”