With any medical condition, the worst thing you can do is ignore it and hope it goes away.
That’s certainly the case with sores if you have diabetes. Ignoring the issue can actually lead to the amputation of your foot – or entire leg.
Left unattended, minor wounds can become serious foot ulcers. And that greatly increases your risk of amputation.
Frighteningly, it doesn’t take much to get a foot ulcer. Simply having a small pebble stuck in your shoe or wearing boots that fit too tightly can actually cause an ulcer. And because you have diabetes, you may already have nerve damage that prevents you from noticing this. So, regardless of what you’ve done during the day, inspect your feet and ankles at the end of the day. Have your spouse do it too, just so you’re sure you didn’t miss anything.
What if you notice something as simple as a blister, callus, or scratch? For a diabetic, these minor conditions are no laughing matter. They can lead to the loss of your limb – or even your life. So if you notice anything unusual, apply some antibiotic cream and see your podiatrist as soon as possible.
If you do end up with a foot ulcer, you’ll need it cleaned out. Modern treatments make this process simple and no longer an extreme measure like it used to be.
As you might expect, blood-sugar and blood pressure control is important. Make sure you eat a diet that keeps both of these regulated to the greatest extent possible. Don’t smoke, and work hard at quitting if you’re currently struggling. And of course, stay in close communication with your podiatrist. You can read all you want on the internet, but it doesn’t help you judge exactly what to do in each situation.
When you shower, wash your feet and fully dry them – even between your toes. Moisture that gets trapped there can cause sores. Use lotion or cream to keep your skin from drying and cracking. Put simply, treat your skin like it’s the most important organ in your body. You may also want prescription shoes, which can be the difference between getting an ulcer (or not). And finally, ask your podiatrist about trimming your toenails so they aren’t likely to cut your skin and cause an injury.
Living with diabetes has its challenges, but with these tips, the condition doesn’t have to define you and take over your life. You can still be happy and enjoy your life.