- Seek immediate medical attention (head to your local ER)
- You may need a tetanus shot if it’s been more than 10 years since your last shot
- Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist within 24 hours of the injury
- Your podiatrist will provide you with a variety of care instructions to keep it clean and disinfected (make sure to follow all of these instructions)
- New or worsening pain
- Skin that’s warm to the touch
Caring for your feet is essential if you have diabetes. Wounds often take longer to heal when you are diabetic, which increases the risk of developing an infection. Minor injuries on the feet, such as small cuts or scrapes, are easily overlooked so it is important to check your feet daily and treat any wounds right away. Dr. Kyle Sundblad and Dr. Sadegh Arab, the skilled podiatrists at Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Care in Sterling Heights, MI, can help with wound care and developing a diabetic foot care routine.
Types of Diabetic Foot Problems
There is an increased risk of developing certain types of foot problems when you have diabetes. Poor blood circulation, one of the symptoms of diabetes, causes wounds to heal more slowly than they should. A longer healing time increases the risk of infection. Infections that are not caught and treated right away can lead to more serious problems, including:
- Neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Foot ulcers
- Foot calluses
- Foot swelling
- Charcot’s foot
Scheduling regular checkups with a podiatrist is one way to care for your feet. A podiatrist can help you maintain healthy feet, improve circulation, and avoid infection, all of which can prevent more serious conditions from developing. The experienced podiatrists at our office in Sterling Heights provide wound care for diabetic feet and can help you develop an effective at-home foot care routine.
Ways to Care for Diabetic Feet
One of the best ways to care for diabetic feet is to check for injuries every day. Checking the feet daily ensures any wounds that develop are spotted right away so you can treat them promptly and reduce your risk for infection. When checking the feet look for redness, blisters, bruises, punctures, cuts, scratches, scrapes, and ingrown toenails. Immediately apply first aid measures to any wounds, which could include thoroughly cleaning and drying the area, and then applying a bandage.
There are several other steps you can take to care of diabetic feet in addition to performing daily wound checks. Some ways to maintain healthy feet include:
- Moisturizing the feet daily
- Wearing comfortable shoes
- Wearing loose socks to bed
- Refraining from soaking the feet in the water
- Keeping the feet clean, warm, and dry
- Wearing warm socks and shoes during cold weather
- Trimming toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails
- Stretching or moving around throughout the day to promote better circulation
An effective diabetic foot care routine should include checking the feet daily and promptly treating any wounds. Regular checkups with a podiatrist can also contribute to healthier feet. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sundblad or Dr. Arab, call Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Care in Sterling Heights, MI, at (586) 731-7873.
- Wash feet at least once a day with soap and warm water. Make sure that you dry your feet thoroughly after.
- Make sure to dry feet as soon as possible after dealing with sweaty or perspiring feet.
- Choose socks made from materials that wick away sweat and improve ventilation.
- Apply deodorizing sprays or powders in shoes every day after wear, and make sure to wait 24 hours before wearing the same shoes again.
Certain shoes can leave you prone to cracked heels and dry skin due to friction from wearing loose-fitted shoes. People who wear sandals and other open-heeled shoes are more at risk for developing cracked heels. Instead, opt for closed-heeled shoes that fit properly and provide support.
If you are overweight, you may be surprised to discover that this could be contributing to your dry, cracked heels. This is because your feet take on all of your weight while standing, walking, and running. By safely dropping that excess weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise you can alleviate some of the pressure placed on your heels to reduce the risk of cracking.
While we know just how luxurious it feels to stand in a steaming hot shower, especially during the winter months, this could be contributing to dry skin on your feet and cracked heels. If this is something you deal with regularly you may look at your current bathing or showering ritual to see if that could be the culprit. Simply use warm and not hot water, which can strip the skin of the oils it needs to stay moist.
You should moisturize your feet every day to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place. Moisturizers that contain lactic acid, glycerin, or petroleum jelly can help to lock in moisture in your feet. Moisturize every time you get out of the shower and throughout the day, especially before going to bed. If you are prone to very dry, cracked feet, you may wish to moisturize and then wear socks to bed.
- Pain that occurs immediately after an injury or accident
- Pain that is directly above a bone
- Pain that is worse with movement
- Bruising and severe swelling
- A cracking sound at the moment of injury
- A visible deformity or bump
- Can’t put weight on the injured foot
The symptoms of a sprain are far less severe. You can often put weight on the injured foot with a sprain; however, you may notice some slight pain and stiffness. You may also have heard a popping sound at the moment of the injury with a sprain, while a broken bone often produces a cracking sound. The pain associated with a sprain will also be above soft tissue rather than bone. A podiatrist will perform an X-ray to be able to determine if you are dealing with a break or a sprain.
Rest is key to allowing an injury, particularly a fracture, to heal properly. Along with rest, your doctor may also recommend either an over-the-counter or prescription-strength pain reliever, depending on the severity of your fracture. Those with more moderate to severe fractures may require a special boot, brace, or splint. Those with more severe fractures may need to wear a cast and use crutches, so they can avoid putting any weight on the foot.
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