After you were diagnosed with diabetes, you immediately became aware of even the smallest pain in your feet. Many diabetic patients first have problems in their feet and toes, so youâ€™ve been keeping a watchful eye on the feet ever since—until one day, you notice a blister on your big toe. What should you do to take care of the problem before it becomes dangerous?
The Importance of Wound Care for Diabetic Patients
The biggest factor contributing to dangerous diabetic foot injuries is neuropathy, or a lack of sensation in the feet. Most people are able to prevent infection of small wounds because they can feel pain; if they step on a tack, the pain sends a signal to their brain to stop walking and treat the wound. Without that signal, diabetes patients may keep walking on an object for hours—or even longer—allowing the minor injury to become life-threatening.
Unfortunately, diabetes patients are not only more likely to suffer foot injuries, they are also likely to have difficulty recovering from them. There are may factors that can make it harder for diabetic wounds to heal, including:
- Nerve damage. Patients with advanced neuropathy often have problems with their the immune systems, making it more likely that the wound will become infected.
- Circulation problems. Diabetes patients often experience poor circulation in the extremities due to narrowed blood vessels. If blood cannot circulate in a wound, there is no way for it to heal, further increasing he risk of infection.
- Pressure. Continual walking on a wound can inhibit healing, as the blood cannot fully reach the wound to repair the damage. Diabetic patients who develop corns, calluses, or blisters should change their shoes to less restricting footwear and stay off the foot as much as possible to promote healing.
- Infections. Once an infection has set in, it must be treated as soon as possible to prevent the condition from spreading. If the infection progresses, it can cause cell death in the skin and bones that may be fatal unless the limb is amputated.
How We Help Keep Diabetic Patients Healthy
At Advanced Foot & Ankle, we provide comprehensive wound care for our diabetes patients, preventing or stopping the spread of infection before it leads to a serious health risk. As part of our wound care services, we take the time to answer questions and educate patients on proper prevention measures that can reduce future injuries. We can assess and evaluate each patientâ€™s particular risk factors, including:
- Footwear. Many diabetes patients wear the wrong size shoe, placing pressure on their heels and toes that can lead to blisters. We check your shoes for signs of trouble and advise you on padding, socks, and insole choices to reduce foot friction.
- Home habits. Diabetes patients should inspect their feet for injuries at least once a day. Patients should never go barefoot, even around the house, as they may step on a sharp object and not feel the injury. We can help you choose slippers and comfortable, non-slip shoes to wear around the house to reduce your risk of foot ulcers and serious falls.
- Foot care. We inspect all diabetic patientsâ€™ feet for potential problems, such as ingrown toenails and fungal infections. We also offer toenail clipping services, recommend products to properly moisturize your feet, and provide grooming tips for a healthy foot care regimen you can do at home.
We are happy to help you with all aspects of your diabetes care to keep you healthy and active for many years to come. Click the contact link on this page or call us at (877) 452-8922 to make an appointment with Advanced Foot & Ankle Wellness Center today.