We can all name at least one thing in our lives we wish we could have addressed differently, knowing what we do now. That’s just part of human nature.
Unfortunately, time moves in a straight line and the future isn’t completely knowable. We don’t always get a good chance to predict what can happen and nip potential problems in the bud.
But when you do have a good idea what can happen, and can do something about it now, why wouldn’t you? That’s exactly the position you are in when it comes to diabetic foot care!
There are plenty of matters to consider when you have been diagnosed with diabetes, and you should not wait until problems become noticeable for you to act on them. This is especially true for your feet, where the creeping effects of diabetes can take a heavy toll over time.
But My Feet Feel Fine Right Now!
We do hope this is the case, and that it stays that way! But a big part of ensuring it depends on the actions you take today.
The feet are particularly vulnerable to the complications of diabetes. Over time, they can be impacted in two major ways:
Diabetes can interfere with blood flow throughout the body, but the feet tend to feel the effects first and most severely. Why? All you have to see is how far the feet are from your heart!
It’s a long trip to get blood to your feet, and then it has to work against gravity to get back to the heart. So it’s more challenging for the circulatory system to supply the feet than pretty much anywhere else in the body.When the complications of diabetes and related conditions (such as peripheral artery disease, or PAD) begin to interfere with circulation, it becomes even more difficult for an already challenged area of the body to receive the tools it needs. Functions such as healing from injuries become more difficult, taking a longer period of time – or, in severe cases, not healing at all without some intervention.
The gradual attack of diabetes can also start to affect the nerves in the feet. The degradation of circulation can make this matter even worse.
At first, nerve damage in the feet can lead to sensations of pain, burning, or tingling. Eventually, however, it can lead to a total loss of sensation whatsoever.
While diabetes can cause other problems for the feet, the combination of slow healing and sensory loss packs a very strong punch. A wound on the foot can go unnoticed and remain walked upon, allowing it to evolve into a more severe ulcer. If it becomes infected, the risks to your foot and overall health dramatically increase.
Fighting Now for the Future
If your feet feel healthy now, the idea of them deteriorating into the state described above might sound ridiculous. But diabetic complications can proceed so slowly that—much like the proverbial frog in a pot—you’re in trouble before you fully realize it.
A good plan for combating these consequences, then, should not only try to address the factors that contribute to this degradation, but also prepare you to take quick medical action ifho a problem is discovered.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to improve your diabetic foot care – all of which can and should be started right now:
- Check your feet daily. Make this a daily habit and it quite honestly may save your feet. Choose a consistent, convenient time – such as after a shower or before bed – to inspect for your feet for signs of sores, cuts, discolorations, or anything else that shouldn’t be there. Let us know if you find something, and we can tell you whether to keep an eye on it or come in for an appointment. Early detection and treatment of a problem is your best weapon against serious complications, especially if the condition of your feet starts to slowly deteriorate over time.
- Manage your blood sugar. The better you are at keeping your blood sugar stable, the less severe an impact diabetes can have on your body (and feet) over time.
- Receive annual checkups. Daily foot inspections are great, but it also helps to have a professional in your corner who can detect potential signs of trouble you might not be able to find on your own. By checking in on your feet once per year (or another period of time, as may be recommended), we can address problems early and keep them from causing too much harm.
Measures we might recommend during checkups can include the use of orthotics or diabetic shoes, adjustments to activity levels, and potential treatments for nerve health and other factors. Our goal will always be to help you continue doing the activities you love as safely as possible and with as little interference from diabetes as possible.
Diabetic Foot Care Starts Now
We are always here to provide expert foot care for patients no matter whether they have just been diagnosed with diabetes or have had it for years. It’s never too late to take the first step!
Call our Palm Desert office at (760) 568-0108 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our online contact form if you prefer to reach out to us electronically.