At Patrick Fettinger, DPM we know that patients with diabetes have to take extra good care of their feet. Two conditions associated with diabetes—neuropathy and decreased circulation–can prove extremely dangerous for your feet. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can result in loss of sensation in your feet. This means that a cut, injury, blister or rash may go unnoticed initially. These types of problems can progress to a point where they become open wounds and a possible site of infection. Poor circulation can inhibit healing by slowing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the wound, leading to systemic infection and even amputation. That’s why it’s essential to observe extra precautions with your feet to prevent injuries and foot infections.
Below are some tips all patients with diabetes should observe:
- Schedule regular checkups with our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger. The foot doctor is your partner in ensuring that your feet stay healthy. By examining your feet periodically, the podiatrist can detect problems in their early stages and monitor chronic foot conditions carefully.
- Practice self-exams. In between your podiatrist appointments, it’s imperative that you examine your own feet every day. Look for bruises, cuts, blisters, skin rashes, lumps, swelling, growths or any other unusual changes. These can be signs of a potential issue that could develop into a diabetic ulcer or an infection. If you notice anything concerning, you should immediately contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office.
- Keep your feet covered. Always wear shower shoes or flip flops when out in public places like gyms, community pools and, nail salons. This will greatly reduce your risk of contracting a bacterial or fungal infection since these are spread by direct contact. Even at home, you should wear shoes to prevent cuts, puncture wounds and injuries.
- Avoid direct heat. Don’t use space heaters, electric blanket or put your feet up in front of the fireplace. Neuropathy may impede your ability to know when it’s too hot and result in burns to the skin.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Choose styles with roomy toe boxes. When toes are squished together for long periods of time ingrown toenails and toe deformities such as bunions and hammertoes are more likely. Always check the insides of your shoes to be sure there is no loose stitching or rough spots that could rub on your foot and cause a blister.
If you have diabetes, we’re part of your healthcare team and will do everything possible to help keep your feet healthy.