Diabetic Foot Care: When You Should Stop Treating Your Own Feet And Let An Orthopedic Specialist Do It
Although you may have been taking care of your own feet up to the point that you were diagnosed with diabetes, the fact remains that you now require very special foot care to keep your feet and toes healthy. There are many reasons why you need to stop clipping your own toenails and see an orthopedic specialist. All of them are related to your diabetes.
Decreased Circulation Equals Increased Infection
Diabetics suffer from decreased circulation. Decreased circulation means less blood flow to the feet and less blood flow means that the blood in the feet cannot filter out any toxins, bacteria, or viruses which cause infection. If you already suffer from toenail fungus or athlete's foot, you definitely need to take very good care of your feet. To address these infections properly, you will need to see an orthopedist regularly to get medications that work with your diabetic condition.
Diabetic Neuropathy and Foot Care
Many diabetics also suffer from diabetic neuropathy, which feels like hundreds of needles and pins jabbing them in their feet. It is extremely painful, and your orthopedist can help. He or she will prescribe special socks, shoes, and foot creams that will ease the pain and discomfort of diabetic neuropathy.
Decreased Moisture in the Skin
Additionally, many diabetics have problems with severely dry skin. If you do not keep the skin on your feet moisturized, it can crack, split, bleed and become infected quite easily. Because you already have problems with poor circulation, it will be very difficult to heal from these sores and splits on your feet. Keeping your feet moisturized per your orthopedist's instructions means you will have to see your orthopedist just a little bit less, which is a good thing.
Increased Thickness of Callouses
Diabetics develop really thick skin on their feet and heels. Prior to being diagnosed with diabetes, you may have used a shaving or sanding device to thin down these calloused areas. As a diabetic, you cannot do this on your own because of the potential to injure your feet and create places in the skin where infection can develop. If the callouses on your feet and heels is really bothering you, see an orthopedist to have the callouses shaved. He or she has experience with shaving callouses to just the right depth so that it will not go too deep and/or cause an infection.
Orthopedic Foot Care for Diabetics Is So Important
Second only to your blood glucose levels, your foot care is a top priority. Keeping them clean, dry, moisturized, free of injuries and infections and properly maintained reduces many health risks associated with diabetes and your feet. Make sure you see an orthopedist immediately after your initial diagnosis of diabetes so good foot care can be started right away.