Your Spring Diabetic Foot Care Checklist
Whenever springtime rolls around, there is often an itch to clean up, reorganize, and generally take stock of things in our lives.
Perhaps there’s something natural about it. Or perhaps some of us just originally came from places that were frozen in solid blocks of ice until April. Either way, it’s a great time to take advantage of that feeling and review the state of a few important matters—such as your diabetic foot care.
Monitoring and addressing your foot health should start as soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes, and the way you do so should evolve as your condition and needs change. The key thing is to always stay a few steps ahead of any potential complications from diabetes to your feet, so that you can either avoid them or limit their impact on your life as much as possible.
Does it require a little bit of work and diligence? Yes, but staying ahead of the curve will always be preferable to dealing with negative impacts at their worst.
So whether you’re the “spring cleaning” type or not, it’s very much worth taking a little time this season to see where you stand on your diabetic foot care routines.
What is the State of Your Shoes?
You may have previously purchased some pairs of shoes with diabetic foot care guidelines in mind, or have been using specified diabetic shoes. That’s great! However, footwear does not last forever.
The more that shoes wear down, the fewer protective qualities they have. They may start rubbing in places they never used to, or not providing as much cushioning while you walk as they should.
Depending on what you put your shoes through, you should check them periodically for signs of wear and tear. Are you feeling irritation in certain areas of your feet due to rubbing against your shoes? Are your feet just generally sore after wearing them for a while?
Unfortunately, due to the effects of potential nerve damage to the feet as a complication of diabetes, how your feet feel is not always a useful indicator as to whether they are experiencing any stress or friction. Feel inside your shoes with your hands for rough and worn-down spots. Also, if any parts of your shoes (insides, soles, heel areas) look busted or worn down, trust your eyes over your feet.
If you are ever in doubt about the condition of your footwear or whether it is best for your feet, please don’t hesitate to ask us. We want you spending your time in shoes that will help you and not harm you.
What Life Changes Have Happened Since 6-12 Months Ago?
As our lives change, so do the demands upon our feet. Take note of whether any such changes have occurred:
- Your job has changed to anything that requires more time standing or walking.
- You have started, stopped, or changed a workout routine and/or sports.
- You have gained or lost a significant amount of weight.
- You are pregnant, or recently had a child.
These kinds of changes may not only affect the condition of your feet, but other elements of your diabetic management as well. They are worth reporting to all physicians on your diabetic care team—not just us!
Are You Still Checking Your Feet Every Day?
We are not going to yell at you if you aren’t, especially if you’re still new to this and trying your hardest to form a habit.
But really, truly, seriously: of all the steps you can take help prevent diabetic foot complications, this is arguably the best you can take. And all you need is a couple minutes!
Establish a time that you can easily commit to each day, like after jumping out of the shower or right before bed. Inspect your feet, searching for anything that feels out of the ordinary such as:
- Cuts or sores
- Discolored areas
- Ingrown toenails
- Fungal toenails
- Corns or calluses
Basically, anything that shouldn’t belong there. These are all signs of things that need to be treated or changes that may need to be made to help prevent these (or worse) problems from developing.
We understand this might feel a bit silly if you are just starting out and your feet currently feel fine. We are glad they do! However, we still encourage you to keep checking your feet now for two reasons:
- The sooner you make daily foot inspections a habit, the more likely you will quickly find something in the future should your sense of touch diminish through nerve damage.
- If you inspect your feet every day, over time, you will gain extensive knowledge of what looks right about your feet and what does not.
So please, we highly encourage you to keep at it and make daily diabetic foot inspections a part of your life.
Do You Have Any Other Concerns About Your Feet?
Addressing any problems you have with your feet and ankles now only keeps them stronger against potential diabetic problems in the future. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, skin conditions, or any other situations right now, please come see us for care. If you have an annual check-up appointment with us, you certainly don’t have to wait for it to arrive!
Schedule an appointment at our office by calling (480) 963-9000. Or, if you prefer to contact us electronically, fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will respond to you during our normal office hours.