The diabetic foot is at risk for developing potentially dangerous conditions for two main reasons. The first is diabetic neuropathy which is a loss of sensation that occurs overtime, but also causes tingling, burning, and sharp pains in the feet. The second is the loss of circulation to the feet. This makes it difficult for the diabetic foot to heal.
Signs and symptoms
Diabetics should check their feet daily to check for the following:
- Redness, swelling, bruising, sudden deformity of the foot, dryness, peeling skin, paleness of the skin
- Numbness, burning, tingling, sharp or shooting pains, or sensations that are difficult to describe such as: “my feet feel like wood” or “it feels like I am walking on pillows”.
As a diabetic, your feet must be cared for in a special way. The importance of regular professional foot care cannot be emphasized enough. Prevention of foot problems is very important so here is a list for you to follow to help keep your feet healthy.
- You should check your feet on a daily basis. Use a hand mirror, if needed. If you notice any redness, blistering, drainage, or pain, you should call the office without delay.
- Do not use any sharp instruments on your feet.
- Wear appropriate shoes, this includes shoes that fit well without causing pressure. Always break in a pair of shoes very slowly. Examine your feet after 15 minutes to be certain there are no areas with problems. Some diabetics will need diabetic extra depth shoes with heat molded inserts to accommodate deformities or areas of pain or pressure.
- Hot water bottles or heating pads are NOT recommended.
- Walking barefoot is prohibited.
- Soaking the feet is NOT recommended.
- High Power Laser Therapy (HPLT)
- Make regular diabetic foot care appointments with Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center to screen for neuropathy, to check for changed in circulation, and to have your toenails, corns, and calluses trimmed.