If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes it is important to take your diabetes seriously from the start. I’ve seen too many patients who have been living with diabetes for years and wish they’d been given this advice earlier.
As a foot expert I am most concerned about how diabetes affects the feet, and diabetes has a big impact on feet. Over time, diabetes can cause diminished, or total loss of, sensation in the feet which can lead to foot ulcers. These ulcers can develop into serious wounds which can dramatically impact your mobility and even lead to amputation.
Fortunately foot ulcers are easier to prevent than many other diabetes-related problems. The best way to prevent diabetes-related foot problems is to make foot inspection and care a daily habit:
• Wash your feet daily and dry them well, especially between your toes. Look closely for any redness or blisters as even small wounds can become infected.
• If you discover a wound (no matter how small), rinse it with water and a mild soap. Apply antibiotic cream and bandage it.
• If the sore is still there the next day, go to your doctor. You might not think it is a medical emergency, but it needs to be checked!
• If you have difficulty moving or bending, purchase a mirror on an arm to inspect your feet. If you still can’t check your feet, ask a family member or nurse to check for you.
• In addition to conducting daily foot checks, have your feet examined by your family doctor at your annual medical checkup.
If you have diabetes, a small foot wound can quickly become a serious complication that may have life changing consequences. Protect yourself by making foot care part of your daily routine.
By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C), Prince Albert, SK