If you have diabetes, your risk of developing a problematic foot issue increases. In fact, more than 50% of adults with diabetes experience complications in their feet related to this chronic disease.
Diabetics are at risk of developing diabetic neuropathy, a condition caused by nerve damage from uncontrolled blood sugar. Neuropathy numbs the sensation in your feet, making it difficult to feel when small cuts or wounds occur. As a result, you may develop serious foot infections and gangrene.
In addition, diabetics also develop blood vessel and circulation issues leading to a disease called peripheral vascular disease (PVD). PVD makes it more difficult for your body to circulate blood to your extremities. This means any foot injuries or wounds you experience take longer to heal, increasing your risk of infection.
The good news is that you don’t have to care for your diabetic feet alone. Board-certified podiatrist Jennifer Tauber, DPM, has special training in caring for diabetic feet.
At her private practice, New Canaan Podiatry, Dr. Tauber and the care team help patients in New Canaan, Connecticut, receive the best care and education possible when it comes to diabetic foot care — including wound care and preventive measures.
Here’s a look at some treatments for diabetic foot issues to help you stay on your feet this summer.
1. Custom orthotics
Custom orthotics are specially designed inserts your place inside your shoes. They are custom-designed to fit your feet and help evenly distribute your weight to aid your balance and alleviate pressure on your feet and ankles. This helps reduce any pain you may be experiencing and can help stop any diabetic foot issues from getting worse.
Dr. Tauber takes into account your musculoskeletal system, lifestyle, medical conditions, and goals for mobility and physical activity when prescribing custom orthotics. This means your inserts fit your body and your life, helping you overcome problematic foot issues.
2. Diabetic-friendly footwear
Choosing the right footwear is essential for diabetics — especially if you’re struggling with problematic foot issues. By wearing well-fitting footwear that can accommodate any swelling your feet experience over the course of the day, you can prevent blisters and small wounds from developing or worsening.
When you shop for shoes, go later in the day when your feet naturally swell to ensure they’ll fit well at all times. And look for shoes made from materials with giving, like soft leather, to help keep the shoes fitting well if your feet do swell. If you prefer, Dr. Tauber can recommend specially made diabetic shoes and inserts.
3. At-home therapies
If you’re trying to manage diabetic foot issues, there are different therapies you can try at home to improve the health of your feet and reduce any unpleasant symptoms. Here’s a list of things to try:
- Cold and warm water baths: To manage pain and swelling, alternate placing your feet in hot water for two to four minutes, then cold water for two to four minutes, and repeat three times.
- Ice massages: To alleviate pain, place two cups of crushed ice in a large, sealable bag and add one cup of cold water, then massage each foot with the bag for 5-10 minutes (be sure to wear a sock or place a thin blanket between your skin and the ice!)
- Moisturize: Help prevent or heal cracks by moisturizing your feet regularly
Dr. Tauber and the team at New Canaan Podiatry can help customize at-home treatments with you based on your specific needs.
4. Manage blood sugar
One of the most important steps you can take for preventing or dealing with diabetic foot issues is to keep your blood sugar under control. Research shows that diabetics with well-managed blood sugar prevent nerve damage, helping you keep sensation in your feet and reducing your risk for untreated wounds. In addition, managing your blood sugar levels helps diabetics with neuropathy prevent the disease from progressing.
5. Regular podiatric foot care
Getting regular podiatric foot care is a must for patients with diabetes. Your podiatrist understands the special foot concerns diabetics have and provides advice and support to help you care for your feet. At New Canaan Podiatry, Dr. Tauber and our team treat existing foot issues and help prevent new ones from starting or worsening.
The American Diabetes Association recommends podiatric check-ins at least every six months so any issues are caught early and be more easily treated. To help you schedule your appointments at the right time, Dr. Tauber advises you when to come in for diabetic foot care based on your specific needs.
If you have diabetes, learn more about treatments for diabetic foot issues by contacting the team at New Canaan Podiatry. Call our New Canaan, Connecticut office at 203-263-9052 or book an appointment online now.