Diabetes is a disease that stems from the body’s inability to convert sugar into energy. If your pancreas doesn’t produce enough of the hormone insulin to transport sugar into the cells (type 1), or if your body becomes resistant to the hormone’s effects (type 2), your blood sugar levels become elevated.

At Monroe Foot & Ankle Care, serving Monroe Township, New Jersey, podiatric physician Dr. Elliott Perel and his team understand the link between diabetes and foot problems; that’s why they offer advanced diabetic foot care. Its goals are to restore your mobility and reduce your risk of serious complications from the disease. If you’re a diabetic, here’s what you need to know about foot care.

The diabetes-foot disease connection

Elevated sugar levels are harmful to the body, causing damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves, among other areas. And, left untreated, diabetes can lead to many other health conditions, including poor circulation, peripheral neuropathy (impaired nerve function in the extremities, along with pain), and a weakened immune system.

In addition, you’re more likely to injure your feet, because poor circulation leads to reduced sensation. You won’t feel that you stubbed your toe, have an ingrown toenail, or have a sore developing before it becomes ulcerated and infected.

In fact, foot wounds are now the most common diabetes-related cause of hospitalization, and they can be a precursor to amputation. Diabetics have a 30-times higher lifetime risk of having a lower extremity amputated than people who don’t have diabetes. Diabetics also run at least a 10-fold greater risk of being hospitalized for soft tissue and bone infections of their feet than those without the disease.

Diagnosing and treating diabetic foot problems

If you have diabetes, it’s important to come into Monroe Foot & Ankle Care for help with diagnosis and treatment of diabetes-related podiatric issues. Dr. Perel takes a complete medical history and notes all of your symptoms. He examines your feet and toes and performs comprehensive neurologic and vascular evaluations to determine the extent of your problem(s).

To help with his diagnosis, Dr. Perel may also order blood tests, X-rays or other imaging tests, and/or nerve conduction tests to diagnose the specific nature of the diabetes-related foot issues you’re having.

Depending on the results of his evaluation, Dr. Perel might recommend a couple of conservative treatments to start:

Diabetic shoes and insoles

Diabetic shoes have a wide toe box, extra depth, and cushioning to prevent toe rubbing, thereby reducing the risk of sores, serious wounds, and infection. They also have hidden seams so there’s no chafing. Insoles or custom orthotics can add another layer of comfort and protection.


Wound care

If Dr. Perel has to remove damaged tissue, he may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics, as well as dressings and bandages to prevent infection.

At-home diabetes foot care

You can do many things on your own to prevent foot problems from happening before they become a problem.

  • Check your feet morning and night: Look for redness, blisters, cuts, swelling, or nail problems.
  • Wash your feet every day using lukewarm water and a soft cloth or sponge; hot water can scald.
  • Dry your feet gently: Blot and pat the skin — don’t rub — and make sure to dry between toes.
  • Moisturize your feet except between toes: This prevents itching and cracking; between toes can lead to a fungal infection.
  • Cut toenails carefully: Cut straight across, then file the edges; cutting too short could lead to ingrown nails.
  • Don’t treat corns, calluses, or blisters yourself; that’s Dr. Perel’s job.
  • Always wear clean, dry socks, and change frequently if you sweat a lot.
  • Look for diabetic socks: They contain extra cushioning, no elastic tops, are higher than the ankle, and are made from moisture-repelling materials.
  • Don’t wear tight or high-heeled shoes.
  • Inspect your shoes before putting them on; your feet might not feel a foreign object that could injure them.
  • Never walk barefoot.
  • Get periodic foot exams: They prevents complications.

Want to learn more about taking care of your diabetic feet? Monroe Foot & Ankle Care can help. Give our office a call today at 732-978-9569, or schedule your consultation online with Dr. Perel.

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