Diabetic Foot Care FAQs
As the leading cause of non-traumatic, lower-limb amputations, diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions, now more than ever. It can have a devastating impact on the body, affecting numerous parts of the body including the eyes, mouth and feet. In fact, the feet, often overlooked at routine checkups, can reveal the first signs and symptoms of the disease. All too often, patients forget to take off their shoes and socks and ask their health care providers to inspect their feet. Close to 24 million people in the United States have diabetes and nearly 6 million people have it and do not even know it. That’s why it’s important to elect to save your feet whether you have the disease or not. Know the signs and symptoms of diabetes and have your feet checked every time you visit the doctor.
Why should I ask my doctor to take off my shoes and socks?
The feet, said to be mirrors of our general health, can reveal diabetes warning signs such numbness, redness, swelling or non-healing wounds. Taking off your shoes and socks at every doctor’s visit is critical to the prevention and treatment of systemic diseases such as diabetes.
Who is at risk for diabetes?
While many Americans are predisposed to have the disease based on family history, Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more at risk. People with type 2 diabetes can do a great deal to lower their chances of getting the disease such as exercising regularly, reducing fat and calorie intake and losing weight.
What can happen if diabetes is not detected in its early stages?
Many people do not find out they have the disease until they develop serious complications such as foot ulcers. In fact, six million Americans with diabetes have not been diagnosed. The good news is that diabetes, although serious, can be managed. However, if left undiagnosed or untreated, it can damage the body and result in long-term complications such as lower-limb amputations, cardiovascular disease, stroke, blindness and kidney disorders.
I have been diagnosed with diabetes. What type of foot complications could I possibly experience?
You may experience the following symptoms:
- A loss of feeling in your feet.
- A change in the shape of your feet.
- Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal.
Keeping your blood glucose (sugar) in good control and taking care of your feet every day can help you avoid serious foot problems.
Should I see a podiatrist if I have diabetes?
Treating diabetes requires a team approach. A podiatrist is an integral part of the treatment team. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a dietician, nurse educator, dentist, eye doctor and an exercise physiologist to help you manage the disease.
Brian Maurer, DPM (Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle) has been in practice in Frisco since 1996 with an additional office in Avon. The Frisco office is located in the Frisco Station (Wal-Mart) shopping center- 842 Summit Blvd., #15. Tel.-970.668.4565. We treat all ailments of the feet including structural deformities (bunions/bunionettes-hammertoes). We also specialize in custom orthotics for biomechanical problems (heel pain-plantar fasciitis etc.) and custom orthotics for all sports.
Why should I worry about my feet if I’m diabetic?
The feet become a real source of trouble in patients suffering from diabetes because of a triad of reasons. Peripheral neuropathy means patients do not notice trauma to their feet easily while peripheral arterial disease slows blood flow for healing. The immune system is also unable to function as well with elevated blood sugars, so small infections from slight traumas become difficult to heal.
Is there anything I can do to protect my feet as a diabetic?
Of course! We have plenty of options for both preventative care and treatment of diabetic complications. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, treatment plans will vary, but do not hesitate to stop in for advice on your diabetic care to our Avon or Frisco Podiatry Office.