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Tips for At-Home Diabetic Foot Care

Tips for At-Home Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. There are a number of different forms, but they all tie back to too much sugar in the blood.

Normally, the beta cells in your pancreas produce the hormone insulin in response to ingestion. It helps the body’s cells break sugars down into usable energy. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, usually due to damage of the beta cells. 

Type 2 diabetes occurs because your cells become resistant to insulin’s effects, often in response to a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and/or being overweight or obese.

No matter the type, the disease can seriously affect your overall health, and that includes your feet.

At Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, our board-certified podiatrists understand the complexities of living with diabetes, which is why we offer diabetic foot care for our patients in and around the Chicago area. 

If you’re diabetic, you need to be as proactive as possible about your foot care, and that includes adopting some at-home treatments. We provide you with a number of tips to get you going.

Your feet with diabetes

High blood sugar levels can lead to a number of other, wide-ranging health conditions. These include poor blood circulation, a weakened immune system, and peripheral neuropathy, damaged nerves in the extremities accompanied by sensations of tingling, burning, numbness, and pain. 

In some ways, your feet get the worst of it. They become more susceptible to injury because neuropathy impairs sensation, and poor circulation leads to even more loss of sensation. 

If you have an ingrown toenail, stub your toe, or get a scrape, you may not be aware you have a problem before the foot becomes ulcerated and infected.

Foot wounds are the most prevalent diabetes-related cause for hospitalization, and they can be a precursor to amputation. More than 80% of diabetes-related amputations started with a foot ulcer that wouldn’t heal.

Overall, diabetics have a thirtyfold higher risk over their lives of having a lower extremity amputated than those without diabetes.

Other podiatric problems made worse by diabetes include:

If you treat the underlying condition, it can help relieve these problems.

Diagnosis and treatment of diabetic foot problems

Here at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, we use a comprehensive approach to diagnose and treat your diabetes-related foot problems. We take a complete medical history, make note of all your symptoms, examine your feet and toes, and perform neurologic and vascular evaluations.

We might also order other tests, such as blood tests, X-rays, and/or nerve conduction tests, to determine the underlying cause of the specific foot issues you’re having.

Depending on the results of our evaluation, we might recommend over-the-counter diabetic shoes and insoles, or custom orthotics, which are made specifically for your feet. Orthotics and cushioning reduce the risk of chafing, sores, and wounds. 

Going for extra-depth shoes with a wide toe box also prevents your feet from getting pinched or rubbed.

If you have a lower leg or foot ulcer, we remove any damaged tissue, and we’re likely to prescribe oral or topical antibiotics, dressings, and bandages.

Tips for at-home diabetic foot care

Preventing problems from developing is always better than treating them after the fact. Here are some tips for things you can do to prevent foot problems from happening in the first place:

Never try to treat corns, calluses, or blisters yourself. Make an appointment with us at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle for professional treatment. And schedule periodic foot exams to prevent complications from developing or becoming too entrenched.

If you have diabetes, you need a foot and ankle specialist in your corner to ensure your feet remain problem-free. 

To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified foot and ankle specialists, give us a call at any of our locations (Mount Greenwood and Portage Park areas of Chicago, as well as Orland Park and New Lenox, Illinois), or book online today.

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