Neuropathy and other blood vessel diseases can increase the risk of developing foot ulcers. Patients with diabetes are prone to developing neuropathy.  When sensation is lost in the feet, sores, cuts, abrasions and ulcers may go unnoticed.  Serious ulcers can develop on the foot if the area is not properly treated.

What causes diabetic foot problems?

The National Institute of Diabetes reports that over half of all non-traumatic amputations of the lower limbs are a direct result of people with diabetes.  Most of the cases can be prevented if proper podiatric care was received.

To prevent the risk of serious foot problems developing, the National Institute of Diabetes recommends that people with diabetes receive proper foot care and inspect their feet on a regular basis.

How to prevent diabetic foot problems?

Examination

It is extremely important that a person with diabetes and loss of sensation in the foot check their feet daily for abrasions or wounds.  Along with the daily feet check, shoes should be examined to ensure that they do not contain a rock, pebble, or sharp object that could puncture the skin and cause a skin tear.  If you are unable to see the bottoms of your feet, even by using a mirror, you should regularly see a podiatrist for examination.

Washing

Feet should be washed daily using mildly warm water (not hot) and a mild, non-abrasive soap.  If you have a loss of sensation in your feet, you should check the water temperature with your hand or wrist to make sure the water is not too hot.  Don’t over soak your feet and use a towel to immediately dry off the skin, with careful attention in between the toes.

Moisturizing and Toenail Trimming

Toenails should be cut straight across and sharp corners filed.  If you have difficulty cutting your own toenails, your podiatrist can help you with this task.  Lotion or petroleum jelly should be applied to the feet before putting on socks and shoes. Avoid lathering in between the toes. People with diabetes tend to sweat less than normal and the feet are prone to dryness.

Foot Wear

It is important to avoid going barefoot, especially outdoors.  Thick socks should be worn around the house to avoid injury to the skin.  Socks should be soft and have traction on the bottom to prevent slipping.  Shoes should be roomy, allowing for wiggle room.  Avoid wearing shoes that cramp the foot and toes.

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