Did you know that 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes? Of those, 15 percent will develop a foot wound or ulcer. Diabetes Awareness Month is the perfect time to remind people with diabetes that checking your feet is just as important as checking your blood sugar.
People with diabetes are prone to foot injuries for two reasons.
- Diabetes can cause nerve damage that makes it harder to feel pain in the feet
- People living with diabetes have a poor defense against infection and damage to blood circulation, which can cause problems with the feet
A foot sore or cut that goes unnoticed can become more serious over time, eventually leading to limb amputation if the wound goes untreated. In fact, 12 to 24 percent of people with foot ulcers will experience an amputation.
Protect Your Feet
The good news is that people with diabetes can take action to protect their feet. And that’s important because the average person takes 10,000 steps a day, adding up to more than 3 million steps per year!
Naomi Oliker, director of the Advanced Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, recommends the following foot care steps if you’re living with diabetes.
- Check your feet for sores or other injuries daily
- Get a comprehensive foot check by your doctor at least four times per year
- Wash your feet every day and dry them with care, especially between toes
- Trim your toenails as needed after you’ve washed and dried your feet
- Wear properly fitting shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet
- Always wear socks or stockings with your shoes, and never walk barefoot or wearing only socks
Here are some other helpful lifestyle changes to keep your feet healthy.
- Do not smoke
- Consult your physician to see how much physical activity is right for you
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
Source: Healogics, Inc.