If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you know all about the need to keep track of your blood sugar levels. But did you know that your feet could be uniquely at risk?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around half of all diabetes patients suffer from some form of related nerve damage. The nerves in your legs and feet are most at risk for damage as a result of diabetes. If the nerves in your feet sustain damage, you might lose sensation in your feet.
This might not sound like a big problem — but you might be surprised. If you don’t have full feeling in your feet, you might have a hard time noticing little injuries. Serious infections could develop without your knowing, leaving you vulnerable to potential limb loss.
At Vascular Institute of New York, located in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Enrico Ascher, MD and the rest of our care team provide ongoing support to new and existing patients living with diabetes and diabetic vascular disease. We can help you adjust to life with diabetes, including learning about how to care with your feet after you receive your diabetes diagnosis.
With nerve damage, you need to pay regular, careful attention to your affected limbs. You should plan to check your feet at least once a day, looking for cuts, scrapes, bruises, blisters, or other signs of injury. You can use a mirror or phone camera to check the bottom of your feet.
Wash and moisturize your feet daily. With regular, gentle cleaning, you can keep your feet free from germs and dry skin that can provide an entry point for infection.
After washing, moisturize the top and bottom of your feet, but don’t leave lotion to build up between your toes, where it could harbor bacteria and become an infection risk.
You can also take steps to protect your feet from injuries and potential infection. You should:
Preventative screenings and professional check-ups can also help to protect your feet and prevent severe problems that can lead to amputation. Get professional care right away if you experience significant changes in your condition or need assistance to handle a potential problem. Dr. Ascher can help you to safely address any issues like corns, calluses, or injuries that appear on your feet.
Depending on your degree of nerve damage, you might find that you experience sensations of tingling, numbness, or even pain. You might also be without sensation, including insensitivity to heat, cold, and pain.
To prevent worsening nerve damage, keep your diabetes and your blood sugar levels under control. Monitoring your blood sugar and keeping track of what you eat and drink are essential to living with diabetes. You should also quit smoking right away, as smoking constricts your blood flow.
You can also support your feet by staying active. Increased blood flow supports your limbs. Elevate your feet when you sit, and wiggle your toes to get your blood flowing. Dr. Ascher works with you to put together an exercise plan that increases your foot health while managing your risk for foot and nerve damage.
To consult with Dr. Ascher and our Vascular Institute of New York vascular medicine specialists about your diabetes and nerve damage concerns, get in touch with our Brooklyn, New York, offices today. You can book your appointment online, or call now.