What We Mean By "Diabetic Foot Care"

A fairly common question for patients is “ what is diabetic foot care?”

Well, people generally understand it has something to do with diabetes, but not how the disease plays a role in foot health. Once you understand that, it becomes easier to understand why it is important to take the right measures to care for your feet.

There is more of a connection between diabetes and foot health than most people realize. This is unfortunate for two reasons:

  • Diabetes is an extremely common medical issue here in the United States. One out of every ten adults already has the disease, and another 84+ million people are considered “prediabetic” (which means they have elevated blood sugar levels, just not to the point of full-blown diabetes).
  • Diabetes can cause very serious medical complications. Specifically, conditions like Charcot foot and diabetic ulcers are rather concerning. In the case of Charcot foot, diabetic neuropathy and weakened bones combine to create a situation wherein a cycle of perpetual breakage and normal use ultimately ends with a severely misshapen foot. Diabetic ulcers are a leading cause of lower limb amputation and can even be life-threatening.

Since there are obviously serious health concerns diabetes poses to the feet, it’s important to practice responsible diabetic foot care. But what do we mean by that, exactly?

Well, in a general sense, diabetic foot care is centered on measures taken to protect your lower limbs and identify problems at their earliest stages. When problems are caught early, it is easier to treat them and lower the risk of issues like Charcot foot and diabetic ulceration.

One particular component of a diabetic foot care plan to help find problems early is daily foot inspections. As you might imagine, this is a matter of inspecting your feet every day. Why is this necessary? Well, because diabetes often causes nerve damage, even to the point you are unable to feel physical sensations.

Since your ability to feel has been taken away, you need to rely on other senses to know if there is a problem. Your sense of sight is the best one for inspecting your feet to see if there are any problems down there.

Of course, even better than catching a problem early is preventing one from happening in the first place. For this reason, another pillar of diabetic foot care is to protect your feet. A key tool for this is to wear diabetic socks and shoes. The proper footwear—and if you aren’t sure which kinds are best for you, come see us and we’ll be happy to help!—will reduce the risk of injury and conditions that could escalate into full-blown medical emergencies.

This isn’t just important for foot health, but you must monitor and manage your blood sugar levels. Doing so will prevent further damage from happening, and can even improve your situation.

Two of the best ways to control your blood sugar are to make healthy dietary choices and exercise on a regular basis. Along with your primary care physician (and perhaps a recommended dietician), we can help you understand which dietary and exercise practices are right for you.

Finally, an essential measure for diabetic foot care—one we just alluded to—is having relationships with medical professionals who are dedicated to your health. Remember, our team at Houston Foot Specialists are here to provide expert treatment and dispense medical advice when you need it.

For more information on diabetic foot care, or to request an appointment, give us a call at (713) 493-7372.