It is time to wrap up National Diabetes Awareness month. I have the feeling that we barely scrape the surface of the subject each year. There is an extra week this year so I can put in a summary of points for those with diabetes.
While I am tempted to start with how important monitoring and trying to control your diabetes is, I also know it is really hard. There are times that you think that you are doing great and suddenly you aren’t doing so great. The constancy of the disease is wearing and you would like a day off – or a month or a year… Unfortunately, that is not an option. I wish it was.
There are somethings you can do to help protect your feet. You need to know that amputation is a reality. You need to do a few things to help try and keep your feet in the best shape. The following is a guideline for you. I urge you to speak to your friendly local podiatrist if you have any questions. It is well worth it to develop a good relationship with your podiatrist.
You should have at least an annual exam with your podiatrist. During that exam, the doctor should do a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam (CDFE). As you get older, you should consider semi-annual checks. (A video of a CDFE can be found in this previous post.)
Daily foot checks. It takes a few minutes and it can make a difference. Get a hand mirror and check over your whole foot. (even between the toes!) If you see anything different go to the doctor and have it checked.
Do make sure you always wear something on your feet. Sandals, shoes, slipper – all are good for protecting your feet.
Check the inside of your shoes before you put them on. Make sure there isn’t something in there that doesn’t belong.
If your shoes are too tight, don’t wear them. Don’t buy shoes that are tight thinking that they will stretch. Sores on your feet are bad. They take a long time to heal and are a pathway to infection. (Your feet are their largest later in the day. Buy shoes when your feet are swollen from the day not when they are at their smallest.)
Make sure your socks are not too tight. You don’t want the possibility of getting sores from the seams of the socks or from the top cutting off your circulation. There are socks that are made for people with diabetes that do not have seams.
Keep your feet moisturized. Dry skin can crack and it is an open pathway for infection.
Wear flip flops when in public locker room and showers. This will help protect against fungal infections.
If you see from your daily foot inspections that you have picked up athlete’s foot or a wart, please do not use over the counter medicines to treat your foot. Please be on the safe side and go to the doctor. The over the counter medicines can sometimes be too harsh for people with diabetes.
10. Blisters, corns, and calluses also should be treated by a doctor. If you have any problems cutting your toe nails, please go have the doctor cut your nails. Once again, it is to guard against any small cuts on your foot. Make sure a trained professional cuts your toe nails.
While it is the end of Diabetes Awareness Month, diabetes is always on our minds. We don’t want you to become a statistic, please follow the above guidelines.
We wish you the best!