4 Common Sense Tips to Reduce Your Diabetic Wound Risk
The best care that can be provided for a diabetic wound is given before any wound ever has a chance to happen.
Diabetic foot care should very much be a proactive pursuit, starting well before any sign of trouble ever develops. Diabetic foot ulcers should be quickly and properly treated as soon as possible, of course; but there is so much that can be done to keep the problem from becoming that bad in the first place – or ever a problem at all.
We are here to help all our patients with diabetes receive the best in both direct and preventative care. That said, there is nothing that will have as great an impact on your ability to prevent diabetic wounds as your own personal choices. Here are a few important ways to start:
Begin Checking Your Feet Daily
Many diabetic wounds start as minor nicks, cuts, or sores on the feet. Often, due to the effects of diabetes damaging nerves in the feet over time, these injuries go undetected, allowing them to worsen as further pressure is placed on them from walking. Eventually, patients may find an ulcer that can no longer be ignored.
A daily inspection of your feet can help you detect potential problems that you might not be able to feel due to diabetic neuropathy.
We encourage our patients to take a few moments to look and feel over their feet during a convenient time of day. Showertime and just before bed are great options, as your feet tend to be bare then, anyway.
Look and feel over your feet for any signs of trouble, such as:
- Discoloration of the skin or nails
- Corns, calluses, warts, or any other bumps or lesions
- Ingrown toenails
Basically, anything that shouldn’t be there. If you have concerns about anything, or something is worsening or not going away after a few days, please call us. We can help you determine the best next steps, and have you come in if we feel the situation needs a closer examination or direct treatment.
You might feel that your feet are more than healthy enough right now to feel any abnormal problem that may happen to them. If that is the case, we encourage you to still check your feet regularly, anyway. It may not always be the case that your nerves are so healthy. If that time comes, you will have enough experience with foot inspections to easily know when something isn’t right.
Wear Proper Footwear
We spend a lot of time in our shoes. You want yours to be actively protecting and supporting your feet, and not posing a higher risk of damaging them.
Shoes that don’t fit properly – whether that is too large, too small, or too tight – can easily cause “hot spots” of friction in certain areas. This can result in blisters and sores.
A properly fitting pair of shoes should have excellent arch support, about a half-inch of space between the toes and the front tip, and feel like your toes or sides of your foot are being crammed or compressed. Your foot should also not slide much within the shoe – that’s a sign the shoe is too big.
Even when properly fitting, some shoes may still have elements that can cause irritation, such as seams that can rub against the foot. Special diabetic models of shoes and socks are often designed to eliminate these elements and may be a recommendation if you are at higher risk of complications.
Also, sorry, but avoid flip-flops. They are terrible for supporting your feet, and it’s easy to slip out of them while walking and into danger.
Keep Your Pathways Clear
Areas that you spend a lot of time walking through should be free of potential obstacles. Clean up or move any sort of clutter that might get stepped on, slammed into, or tripped over. Rugs and cords that may be in your path should either be moved or secured as well.
Outdoor pathways should be clear as well, and you should also never go barefoot outdoors. The risk of hidden items underfoot is just too high out there. For some patients who are exhibiting symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and a loss of sensation, we may recommend wearing shoes indoors as well.
Schedule Regular Professional Checkups
The choices you make to reduce your diabetic wound risk are extremely vital, but it also helps to have experts looking out for you as well.
Scheduling annual diabetic foot care checkups (or at whatever timeframe works best for your needs), can help ensure that potential risk factors are not being overlooked.
You can see and change a lot about your risk, but we can help you find and address factors that are harder to see, such as abnormalities in foot structure that might benefit from custom orthotics. And if anything changes in your life, such as a new job, significant gains or losses in weight, or ambitions toward certain sports and activities, we can provide our best recommendations on modifying your diabetic foot care plan to keep up with you.
Keep Diabetic Wounds Out of Your Future
We are always here to help patients with any questions or concerns they may have about how diabetes can affect their foot health – and it’s a very important and vulnerable area to keep an eye on. We’re also happy to work with patients’ primary care physicians and diabetic specialists to ensure we’re all on the same page for your best benefit.
Schedule an appointment at either of our two offices by giving us a call:
- Princeton: (609) 924-8333
- Roselle Park: (908) 687-5757
Or, if you prefer to reach us electronically, you can always fill out our online contact form.