Foot problems are a big risk for people with diabetes. Diabetic foot care is very important. Neglect can cause severe consequences; minor injuries become major emergencies before you know it. Because diabetes may decrease your blood flow, your injuries can be slow to heal, which puts you at greater risk for infection. Diabetes also affects your immune system and makes it harder to fight infections, so they may spread quickly.
If you have neuropathy you may not recognize that the problem is getting worse. One in five people with diabetes who seek hospital care do so for foot problems. Nearly 80% of all diabetes related amputations could be avoided with proper and early treatment. By taking proper care of your feet, most serious health problems associated with diabetes can be prevented.
Examine your feet daily and, especially, after any injury, no matter how minor. Feel each foot for swelling. Look for puncture wounds, bruises, redness or warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts or nail problems. Examine between your toes, the tip of the big toe and base of the little and middle toes. Check the heel, outside edge of the foot and across the ball of the foot. Check for sensation in each foot using the pencil eraser test. If you have difficulties get someone to help you, or use a mirror.
Immediate wound care treatment is extremely important for people with diabetes because an infection can lead to serious health problems. Treat even small wounds as an emergency. Always discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor and /or podiatrist, even for the care of minor wounds and skin cracks.