Diabetic Foot Care and Wound Treatment
When diabetes is in the picture, it changes so many elements of your life.
Checking your blood sugar. Taking medication. Maintaining your diet. Exercising properly. These are the basic elements of protecting yourself against complications from this common and widely affecting disease.
It also greatly pays to focus on care for certain areas of your body, too. One of those areas, absolutely, should be your feet.
The feet have particular vulnerabilities to diabetes that aren’t as prevalent in other areas. Through preventative care and addressing problems early, you can help ensure comfort and mobility far throughout your lifetime.
At Rainier Foot & Ankle Associates, we provide help for diabetic patients facing problems, but also care to help prevent those problems from arising.
Why Diabetic Foot Care Matters
If you have diabetes, your feet may feel perfectly fine right now (and we hope they do!).
The problem with diabetes, however, is it has a way of slowly and gradually affecting your health in ways that become difficult to notice until you find yourself facing a big problem—and the feet are in a particularly dangerous situation.
There are two specific dangers that diabetes can pose to the feet:
- Impeding circulation. The feet already face a challenge in getting strong circulation, simply due to being the farthest parts of us from our heart. When diabetes interferes with circulation throughout the body, the feet tend to feel it first in the form of a reduced ability to heal and diminished immune response.
- Nerve damage. As nerves in the feet become damaged through the effects of diabetes, sensation in the feet can become lost. An injury can develop and the victim may not even feel it happened.
Combined, these two problems can have devastating effects. Even a small cut on the foot can turn into a deep ulcer if it goes unnoticed. As someone continues to walk and bear weight on the injury, it can open further, becoming harder to heal and increasing the risks of infection. And when infection enters the picture, it can threaten not only someone’s foot, but their life.
But with proper care, dire situations such as these can be prevented.
Keys to Diabetic Foot Care
A great diabetic foot care plan involves not just visits to a podiatrist, but a daily focus on individual care as well.
One of the best things you can do for your feet, undoubtedly, is checking them daily for signs of trouble. A self-inspection can take just a few minutes at any convenient time, such as getting out of the shower or before bed.
Look and feel against your feet for problems such as cuts, sores, ingrown toenails, warts, discoloration… anything that should not be there.
When you find something, let us know about it! We won’t always ask you to come in, but we can give you advice on how best to handle the problem and ask you to keep an eye on its condition. Having a record like this can help us identify problems and address them before they become serious.
Potential treatments may include the use of diabetic shoes for added support and protection, custom orthotics to relieve excess pressure off certain areas of the feet, or changes to workout routines to better strengthen areas of the foot and ankle in need, among others. We can discuss the best approaches to your foot health during periodic evaluations at our office.
If a Wound Develops
Sometimes, despite best efforts, a diabetic wound or ulcer may develop. It is critical that such an injury receive prompt and thorough attention!
Our office is capable of cleaning and sanitizing wounds, and we are also one of few places in the area to offer EpiFix amniotic membranes to aid in protection and recovery.
If you discover you have a diabetic wound, do not wait for it to improve or try to handle the situation yourself. Contact us or your closest wound care provider right away!
Consistent Care for a Healthier Future
We know that managing diabetes does not often feel convenient or fair, but we are happy to be a part of your maintenance team. With the right diabetic foot care, you can invest in a happier, more mobile future for your life and goals.