According to the American Diabetes Association, about 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5% have diabetes. One major complication of diabetes is nervous system damage (also called neuropathy). It affects about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes and can cause diabetics to lose feeling in their feet or hands.
Diabetics have a greater risk of having foot problems. If left untreated, a small issue can lead to infection and even amputation. Constantly monitoring your feet is very important. If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet every day. Look for puncture wounds, bruises, pressure areas, redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts and nail problems. Get someone to help you, or use a mirror or your phone.
With a diabetic foot, a wound as small as a blister from wearing a shoe that’s too tight can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes causes reduced blood flow, especially to the feet which can slow down healing and increase the chance of infection.
Here’s some basic advice for taking care of your feet:
Buy shoes that are comfortable without a “breaking in” period. Check how your shoe fits in width, length, back, bottom of heel, and sole. Avoid pointed-toe styles and high heels. Try to get shoes made with leather upper material and deep toe boxes. Wear new shoes for only two hours or less at a time. Don’t wear the same pair everyday. Inspect the inside of each shoe before putting it on. Don’t lace your shoes too tightly or loosely.
Choose socks and stockings carefully. Wear clean, dry socks every day. Avoid socks with holes or wrinkles. Thin cotton socks are more absorbent for summer wear. Square-toes socks will not squeeze your toes. Avoid stockings with elastic tops.
There are other complications associated with diabetes and neuropathy that can lead to foot deformity, fracture, and even ulcerations. It is important for diabetics to monitor their feet and see a podiatrist at the first signs of a problem. It is important to see podiatrists on a regular basis to monitor and care for your feet as a preventative measure.