For people suffering from diabetes, there are a number of additional health risks and precautions to take in order to avoid potentially serious complications. One of the common complications associated with diabetes is peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage). While the condition can produce symptoms and affect nerves anywhere in the body, it is most common in the nerves of the hands, legs, and feet. A lack of full sensation in the feet due to nerve damage can make it difficult for diabetics to experience the warning signs of cuts, infections, or other wounds to the feet. For this reason, it is important for diabetic patients to make regular foot exams with the Fairfax, VA podiatrist, Dr. Steven Vetter, at Oakton Foot and Ankle a part of their comprehensive health and wellness plan.
How to Care for Your Feet After a Diabetes Diagnosis
As with any health condition and illness, there are a number of precautions that diabetic patients can take to help manage their disease and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Where foot care is concerned, Fairfax podiatrist Dr. Vetter advises his diabetic patients to follow a simple checklist:
- Check your feet every day and look for any changes in skin color, texture, or the presence of sores or ulcers.
- Keep your feet clean and dry, especially between the toes, and moisturize regularly to avoid cracks and cuts on the heels of the feet.
- Avoid ingrown toenails. For people living with diabetes, common problems that are little more than a nuisance for most people--such as corns, calluses, cuts, blisters, and ingrown toenails--can lead to infections that can threaten a diabetic patient's health. Keeping the toenails short and well trimmed, and getting treatment for even small podiatry problems is very important.
- Schedule a yearly check-up with a podiatrist. Even in the absence of noticeable symptoms like pain and swelling, a foot specialist can screen diabetic patients for problems with circulation and blood pressure in the feet that could lead to other health complications.