Without A Leg To Stand On: 3 Pitfalls In Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetics have unique needs in challenges when caring for their feet. Many issues with your feet can be prevented with daily foot care and routine foot specialist visits. When problems occur, they are usually caused by or exacerbated by a lack of care in three areas.

Overgrown Nails

Overgrown nails are a problem for diabetics, especially those who are elderly or have mobility problems that make it difficult to care for their feet. When you allow your nails to grow without regular trimming, it increases the likelihood of an ingrown nail. Additionally, it is common for diabetics to have thickened, brittle nails, which may be caused by fungus or occur because of poor circulation. This makes the nails harder to trim at home, leading to injury. Work with your podiatrist to determine the right schedule for nail trims. In addition to trimming, your podiatrist will likely use a specialty drill to help thin the nail and make them less thick.

Poor Footwear

Many adults continue to wear the same size shoe, regardless of the changes their feet go through. As you age, you may find your feet become wider or if you have issues with your toes, a longer shoe may be more accommodating. Most diabetics will find they need wide or extra-wide shoes to avoid friction or pressure points. You will also need to ask your podiatrist about special inserts or the need for diabetic shoes, which are critical for reducing callus formation on the bottom and sides of your feet. Under normal circumstances, calluses can be a painful problem, but with diabetes, calluses can lead to break down of the skin underneath and cause ulceration and infection.

Compression Socks

Compression socks can be a double-edged sword. People who need compression socks to help squeeze the blood back from the feet may not wear them. Those who wear compression socks may not wear the right kind. Both situations can cause problems. Without adequate blood flow to and from the feet, skin can begin to break down or become necrotic. Additionally, compression socks help reduce swelling form fluids accumulating in the legs that can also cause ulceration. Wearing the wrong type or size of compression socks can lead to ulcers. You should purchase the compression socks recommended by your doctor and not rely on retail versions unless your doctor says they are acceptable. Poor-fitting compression socks are either too loose to provide adequate compression or too tight and can rub against your skin.

The best way to minimize the chance of foot problems in diabetics is to avoid common pitfalls. Daily foot care combined with podiatrist visits at regular intervals can help you identify problems before they threaten your feet.