The stakes are high—without a plan in place to detect problems as soon as possible and get them treated right away, a seemingly minor injury can grow and fester into much bigger problems. Wounds may become infected and ultimately need to be amputated in order to stop the spread, or bones may crumble and cause deformity.
The good news is that most diabetic foot complications are preventable and treatable, as long as you are proactive about taking care of your feet, checking them every day, and getting any problems addressed promptly.
Diabetic Foot Care Basics
To reduce the risk of complications and keep your feet healthy and strong for a lifetime, you need a diabetic foot care plan. A big part of that plan includes living a healthy lifestyle and keeping your diabetes well regulated with exercise, a healthy diet, and monitoring your blood sugar regularly. However, your feet will need additional attention, too. Here’s what that should include:
Daily foot inspections. Fully examine your feet with your eyes and feel them with your hands—top, bottom, and between toes—every day. Check for cuts, scrapes, bruises, swelling, temperature changes, or anything else out of the ordinary. Remember, due to nerve damage you may not be able to “feel” an injury to the feet, so you must examine them yourself.
Practice good hygiene. Wash feet daily with mild soap and warm water. This helps prevent skin infections. Use a moisturizer to keep skin from cracking (just don’t apply between the toes), and keep toenails trimmed straight across, even with the edge of your toes. (This reduces the risk of an ingrown toenail, which can easily become infected.)
Protect your feet. Wear proper shoes at all times, even when indoors or at home. Make sure nothing is hiding inside your socks or shoes before putting them on.
Get your feet checked by Premier Podiatry at least once per year. Our experts, Dr. Carlos Barra and Dr. Maureen Ratchford, provide comprehensive care and testing to keep your feet healthy and safe. We’ll check your circulation and nerve health, fix any existing foot concerns, help you pick safe shoes (or get you fitted for diabetic shoes or orthotics), and more.
Diabetic Wound Care
If, during your daily foot checks, you discover an open sore or wound, it’s critical that you receive immediate care. The sooner you seek help, the quicker the recovery time, and the more likely you’ll be able to return to full health without the lifelong consequence of an amputation.
Diabetic wounds are cleaned of all dead skin and other particles in a process known as debridement. Then, the wound care specialist provides any necessary medicines or antibiotics and dresses the wound, protecting it from further infection. You’ll also be asked to fully offload the injury while it heals—we’ll provide whatever tools are necessary, such as crutches, a walking boot, or wheelchair.
Both Dr. Barra and Dr. Ratchford are trained and certified wound care experts, and each spends one day per week working at a local wound care center. Dr. Barra is on staff at the Wound Healing Center at Miners Medical Center, while Dr. Ratchford works at the Wound Healing Center at the Memorial Medical Center Lee Campus.
Let Us Help Keep Your Diabetic Feet Safe
Premier Podiatry Group provides comprehensive diabetic foot care with a focus on prevention. Whether you need help putting together a diabetic care plan, you need diabetic shoes, you have a wound that needs to be healed, or you’re simply due for your yearly check-up, we’re here to help.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Barra or Dr. Ratchford at our Ebensburg, PA office, please give us a call at (814) 472-2660 today. We also provide an online contact form for those who’d like to request a time that way.
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