November is American Diabetes Month. At Patrick Fettinger, DPM, we know our Fairfield County patients with diabetes have special podiatric care needs. Seemingly minor foot conditions, like athlete’s foot or an ingrown toenail, can pose a significant medical threat to patients with diabetes. Decreased circulation, associated with diabetes, means wounds can be very slow to heal, increasing the chances of infection and potentially even amputation. Many people with diabetes also experience neuropathy or nerve damage in their feet, making detecting injuries or potential problems more difficult. There are ways, however, to protect your feet and keep them healthy.
Here are some important tips for preventing diabetic complications before they start:
- Schedule regular podiatric appointments. Our podiatrist, Patrick J. Fettinger, is a key player on your diabetic care team. Seeing the podiatrist on a schedule means less likelihood that a problem in your feet will develop unnoticed. The podiatrist can also assist with nail care, orthotics, and other aspects of treatment that will keep diabetic feet safe and healthy.
- Don’t go barefoot. Simply wearing shoes can significantly reduce the risk of diabetic complications. It prevents cuts and puncture wounds and also fungal infections, which spread by direct contact.
- Wear shoes that fit correctly. Avoid blisters by wearing shoes that are roomy and made of soft, flexible material. Ensure the footwear you choose also has good arch support to help prevent biomechanical issues leading to corns and calluses.
- Use extra moisturizer. Neuropathy results in decreased secretion of oils in your skin which can leave feet dry and flaky. In a worst-case scenario, this results in skin cracks that open a pathway for bacteria to enter your body. Apply a rich moisturizer before bed and cover your feet with socks to help the lotion absorb better.
- Inspect feet daily. While performing the daily washing and drying of your feet, take the time to look them over thoroughly for any changes. Symptoms such as rashes, redness, swelling, bruising, lumps, and changes in skin color or toenails should all be reported to the podiatrist promptly. Don’t hesitate to contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office for an appointment to get anything suspicious evaluated.