If you have diabetes, there are many different implications for your physical health and wellbeing, including heart disease, kidney disease, pancreas malfunction, and vision problems (even blindness!). This is clearly a serious medical issue, but it is important not to overlook the way the disease affects the health of your feet.
Charcot foot and diabetic foot ulcers are two examples of very serious medical problems that can develop on account of diabetes. The best way to reduce the risk of such issues is to have a diabetic foot care plan in place. Your plan will be comprised of various pillars, but one of the most valuable is performing a diabetic foot self-exam every day:
- Pick a time that works for you, and then be sure to stick with it.
- Sit down and lift one foot on your other knee. If limited flexibility or extra weight means you can’t bend well, get someone to help you with the exam.
- Tilt your ankle until you can see the bottom. If you can’t, use a mirror or ask for help. Look for rashes, bumps, cuts, blisters, corns, calluses, and dry or cracked skin.
- Now feel for any irregular surfaces or warmth. Pull the toes gently apart to check for sores or athlete’s foot. Also check the nails for discoloration or signs of ingrowing, as well as thickness or flaking that could mean a fungal infection.
- Repeat with the other foot.
- Then let both hang down and carefully check for abnormalities on the tops of your feet. If the skin is thick or shiny, or there is no hair where there used to be, your blood flow may be compromised.
- Keep a diary. Write down the date and your observations to keep track of what you find. You may even want to take a picture of any abnormality to compare later.
In addition to your foot check, you need to wear diabetic footwear, manage your diabetes, and exercise (but check with us for appropriate activities!).
Of course, the most important part of your diabetic foot care plan is coming to see us here at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group for regular appointments. We can help you prepare a plan to keep you safe, but we also provide the care you need, so contact us today by calling (916) 961-3434 or schedule an appointment with our Carmichael, CA office online.