When you have peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes, your feet and skin need extra care and attention.
Very small, repetitive injuries to the feet - like those caused by poorly fitting shoes - can lead to bigger problems, says Tom Elasy, MD, director of the Diabetes Clinic at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. "Calluses, blisters, sores, infections, and foot ulcers may appear on numb areas of the foot because pressure or injury goes unnoticed. This happens simply because you can't feel the problem."
Also, people with uncontrolled diabetes have a hard time fighting infections. They may also have poor circulation that can lead to problems with healing. That means a minor cut in your skin could become an ulcer or develop into a serious infection. With good foot care, you can prevent most of these problems.
Inspect Your Feet Daily if You Have Diabetes
"We recommend that patients inspect their feet on a daily basis for cuts, any signs of redness, calluses, or blisters," says Elasy. "Using a little mirror can help. Also, it's important to moisturize. But avoid getting it between the toes, because that area is already moist. So extra moisture tends to cause fungal infections."
Even if you have diabetes, caring for your feet is easy. It's best to do it when you are bathing or getting ready for bed. And remember that good foot care also involves getting medical help early if a problem develops. It's very important to see your doctor for treatment right away - to prevent serious complications like infections.
Here are good everyday foot care habits to follow:
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David Trenner, D.P.M. is a Senior Associate in Orthopaedics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, specializing in podiatry, orthopaedics and rehabilitation. Good foot care is very important for anyone with diabetes. Dr. Trenner will explain what specific problems are related to diabetes, how to assess any complications and what preventative medicine and treatments are available.
To learn more about what can be done to prevent foot complications, please visit: