When Should You Begin Diabetic Foot Care?
Diabetes can be a whirlwind of a diagnosis for anyone to receive. But whether you live in Dallas or elsewhere, you’re not alone in that feeling.
It often comes with a long list of new information to process about your health and lifestyle, and it can be intimidating to know exactly where one needs to start.
Foot care is an important aspect of almost every diabetic patient’s management plan. At what point will you need to start placing focus on this area?
The answer is simple: It’s now.
It doesn’t matter if you are young or your feet feel perfectly fine and healthy (which we absolutely hope they do). Starting proper diabetic foot care now can greatly improve your chances of facing fewer and less severe complications to your health and mobility in the future.
Diabetes Sets a Storm Watch for Your Feet
Do you know the difference between a Storm Watch and a Storm Warning?
When there is a Storm Watch, a storm is not necessarily happening right now, but the ingredients are present for one to happen. A Storm Warning is issued when a storm has been confirmed to be in the area.
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, there is a chance that they are already experiencing significant problems and complications from the disease. Others may still feel relatively fine and healthy.
But even if your foot health feels top notch right now, the conditions are still present for problems to develop over time. You’re essentially under a Storm Watch, and waiting for a Storm Warning to happen before you make any preparations is taking a very big risk.
And even better than a real Storm Watch? The diabetic foot care actions you take now can help keep the “storm” of diabetic complications to your feet from developing or make unavoidable problems significantly less powerful. You have control!
What Do Diabetic Feet Need Protection From?
While the consequences of diabetes can have negative effects throughout the body, there are two primary dangers we want to monitor and address in the feet:
- Reduced circulation to the feet.
- Nerve damage to the feet.
These two conditions can cause significant problems on their own but can be monumentally devastating when working together.
Getting strong blood flow to the feet tends to be challenging under normal circumstances, simply due to gravity and how far the feet are from the heart (it’s a frequent reason why our feet tend to get cold before anywhere else).
If the effects of diabetes begin to constrict and weaken blood flow, the feet tend to feel it first. Injuries can take more time to heal because our cells are getting a slower supply of the materials they need to do their work. It can reach a point where wounds don’t heal at all without medical attention.
Poor circulation and other diabetic effects can increase the risk of nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) in the feet. This may initially cause tingling and pain but can eventually lead to a loss of sensation entirely. In advanced neuropathy, an injury can happen to the foot and it is a very real possibility that you wouldn’t feel it.
When injuries are hard to detect and don’t heal quickly (if at all), it throws the door wide open for the development of serious ulcers and infections. This is, unfortunately, how many diabetic patients lose a limb each year, and it’s something we seek to avoid whenever possible.
But again, you are in control!
How You Can Start Diabetic Foot Care Now
One of the best features of a good diabetic foot care plan is that most parts of it aren’t too complex or involved. They simply take a bit of time and some diligence.
One of the best ways to take care of your feet is by performing daily self-inspections. All this means is taking a few minutes each day to look and feel over your feet for signs of trouble. Problems like:
- Cuts or sores
- Ingrown toenails
- Cracked skin
In short, anything that shouldn’t be there.
If you see anything of concern or that doesn’t go away in a day or two, give us a call. We can provide you with further advice and tell you to keep monitoring the situation or ask you to come in for a closer look and potential treatment. Either way, we will have a record of what’s been going on with your feet that can help us identify potential issues and any treatments or adjustments that may be necessary going into the future.
What else can good diabetic foot care look like?
- Managing your blood sugar well.
- Choosing footwear that best accommodates your feet and supports your arches. You also want to avoid footwear that crams the toes together or creates “hotspots” where part of your foot rubs against the inside of the shoe. We can always help you find the best pair of shoes for your needs or recommend specialized diabetic shoes and socks that provide further preventative measures.
- Focusing on activities and exercise that can help you maintain healthy circulation while putting a low risk on foot problems and injuries. We can help you find good options here as well.
It is also extremely helpful to have an expert podiatrist who can track the health of your feet and ankles over time and recommend the best ways to prevent, treat, or manage any complications that might arise.
At Texas Foot & Ankle Center, we have helped many diabetic patients greatly improve the outlooks of their foot and ankle health, not only providing direct care whenever necessary but investing in their long-term preventative care as well. We can also work with your other doctors to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding your care plans.
Your Source for Diabetic Foot Care in Dallas
Whether you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with it for years, do not delay taking steps now to strive for a future free from complications.
We’re happy to help you the entire way. Schedule an appointment with us by calling our office or by filling out our online contact form.
Doctor's Professional Building 1
1151 N. Buckner Boulevard, Suite 201
Dallas, TX 75218
Monday - Friday
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Closed for Lunch
12:00PM - 1:00PM
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