At Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers, we believe that good foot care is important for everyone. However, patients with diabetes have needs that go above and beyond that of the average patient.
Why? There are two common problems associated with diabetes that can have a serious impact on your feet: neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. Neuropathy—or nerve damage—means that you lack normal sensory perception and therefore may not perceive pain, heat or cold accurately. This greatly increases your risk of suffering a foot injury or developing an infection and not realizing it right away. The second problem, peripheral vascular disease, decreases blood flow to your feet which means that injuries and infections take longer to heal. For these reasons, foot problems, even seemingly minor ones like ingrown toenails or athlete’s foot, can quickly become a major health threat.
Our podiatrists Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw and Dr. Adam Thompson will monitor you closely if you are a patient with diabetes. Regular checkups will be an important part of managing the disease and protecting your feet.
As a patient, there are a number of precautions you can take to help ensure that your feet stay healthy:
Make smart footwear choices. Your shoes can make or break your foot health. Look for styles that have roomy toe boxes and don’t pinch or rub anywhere on your foot. Stick with low heels. Choose shoes made out of soft, flexible materials that allow for good air circulation. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day.
Keep your feet covered. Decreased feeling in your feet means you may not feel pain from stepping on a sharp object. Wear shoes even when you are at home. Always wear flip flops or shower shoes when you are in public places like community pools and gym locker rooms. This will prevent fungal and bacterial infections.
Avoid extreme temperatures. Don’t expose your feet to a direct flame or heat source. Don’t use electric blankets. Always test the water in the bath tub with your elbow or arm—don’t rely on your feet to give you an accurate idea of the temperature. Limit time outdoors during cold weather.
Check your feet often. Make inspecting your feet part of your daily care routine. Look for changes in skin color, rashes, toenail thickening or discoloration, bruising, cuts or wounds and any lumps, bumps or growths. If you find anything unusual, contact our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office as soon as possible to head off potential problems.