Did you know that more than 16 million Americans suffer from diabetes? This debilitating disease can have serious consequences for your feet. Neuropathy (nerve damage) commonly associated with diabetes can make it more difficult for diabetic patients to detect injury and pain which in turn can lead to serious damage and infection. Poor circulation and a dysfunctional immune system (2 other side effects of diabetes) can make healing difficult and result in long term disability and even amputation. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group PC we want to suggest some ways you can help avoid podiatric complications from diabetes:
1. Get in the habit of inspecting your feet regularly. Many diabetic foot problems can be easily treated in their early stages. Look for discoloration of the skin or redness, swelling, abnormal growths, changes in the shape or size of your feet. Also, if your foot feels warm to the touch or there are red streaks in a particular area contact the foot doctor right away as this can be a sign of an infection.
2. Don’t go barefoot. Fungal infections are transmitted by direct contact and so by going barefoot, especially in public places like gyms, community pools, etc. you greatly increase your risk. Also, you are more likely to step on an object that will injure your foot if you are not wearing shoes.
3. Protect toe deformities. If you suffer from a bunion, hammertoe or other deformity be sure to protect that area with special padding and wear shoes that accommodate the deformity without rubbing or putting pressure on it. This will help prevent corns, calluses and blisters from forming which can develop into open wounds.
4. Don’t smoke. Smoking further reduces your circulation. Follow all your doctor’s instructions to keep your diabetes under control.
5. Partner with your podiatrist. Our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko will help design a checkup and treatment plan to help care for your feet and prevent foot problems associated with diabetes. For more information, contact our Valley Stream 516-825-4070 or Lake Success 516-327-0074 office.