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Foot Care Management and Diabetes

Diabetes can bring a variety of complications, including some challenges with one’s feet.  Nerve damage and poor circulation can lead to a loss of sensitivity, skin changes, calluses and skin breakdown, all of which can lead to more serious complications such as ulcers, an inability for the skin to heal, increased risk of infection and possible loss of limbs. The good news is that many of these complications can be avoided with management of one’s blood sugar, with regular checkups from healthcare providers and scheduled regular foot care appointments.


Nerve damage, or a loss of sensitivity and numbness, is known as neuropathy.  Neuropathy reduces one’s ability to feel pain or temperatures such as extreme heat or cold.  It can develop and worsen with uncontrolled high blood sugar levels.  Having decreased sensitivity can increase the risks of a person not knowing when they have an injury or even a cut on their foot. People with diabetes need to make sure they are checking their feet daily, looking for cuts, bruises, blisters and cracked skin, and then seek medical care from their healthcare providers. 


Decreased circulation is caused by a narrowing and hardening of the vessels due to high blood sugar levels.  When a person gets cut or scraped, especially on their foot, it can lead to skin not being able to heal and the body not being able to fight infection.  This can lead to further issues including loss of toes, feet and even parts of legs. 


Daily preventative care can include washing and thoroughly drying one’s feet, using a foot moisturizer on areas that are prone to dryness and cracking, and seeking toenail care from a trained medical professional, if needed.


Proper footwear can also help with reducing the risk of injury to one’s feet.  Ensuring that shoes fit properly and do not rub skin, that socks are worn that reduce rubbing and pulling of the skin, and that supportive inserts provide comfort while standing or walking for any period of time will help one’s feet stay healthy.  It is important to talk with your healthcare professional about options for obtaining diabetic-designed footwear as this footwear considers options for stretchy materials that do not create rubbing or irritation, that are designed to meet your foot needs such as extra depth or width, that provide for stability and comfort, all encouraging you to maintain an active lifestyle filled with movement for your health and well-being.


While diabetes does come with its challenges, following some simple strategies can increase the wellbeing and health of your feet, allowing you to live an active lifestyle with reduced pain, risk and damage.  Talk with your healthcare provider at your next appointment about what you can do to ensure you have “Happy Feet”. 

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