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3 Things You Need To Do To Care For Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

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If you have diabetes, it's important to take great care of your feet. People with diabetes often have poor circulation in their legs and feet, which can allow minor wounds to fester and become infected instead of healing properly. When a wound in your foot gets infected, it can turn into an ulcer as the skin around it starts to die. If the ulcer is left untreated, the damage can become so dire that you'll need to have your foot amputated. To learn how you can avoid this outcome, read on to learn three things you need to do to care for your feet when you have diabetes.

1. Check Your Feet for Wounds Every Day

The most important thing that you can do to decrease the risk of a serious diabetic ulcer is to carefully examine your feet every day. If you have diabetic neuropathy and have poor feeling in your feet, you can start to develop an ulcer without even knowing it.

Every day, check your feet for cuts, blisters, or infections. Use a mirror so that you can easily see the underside of your foot, as ulcers commonly start there. Clean your feet using soap and water after examining them to kill all of the bacteria on your feet, which will reduce the risk that you'll develop an infection.

If you notice an ulcer starting to develop, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible so that it can be treated. Treating an ulcer early reduces the chance that it will become severely infected.

2. Have Calluses and Ingrown Toenails on Your Feet Removed

When you're examining your feet, you should also look for calluses and ingrown toenails. Calluses can cause an ulcer to form. The tough skin on the surface exerts pressure on the softer skin underneath them, which can break it down. If you notice calluses on your feet, have them debrided by a podiatrist in order to remove them.

Ingrown nails also need to be treated by a podiatrist. An ingrown nail occurs when your toenail starts to grow into your skin. This creates an open wound that can easily become infected and cause an ulcer to form. A podiatrist can cut out the ingrown area in order to prevent it from digging into your skin, allowing the wound to heal and stopping it from becoming infected.

3. Wear Shoes That Perfectly Fit Your Feet

When you have diabetes, it's important to wear shoes that fit well. Have your feet measured at a shoe shop to determine their exact size. Wearing shoes that fit your feet perfectly helps distribute weight evenly, preventing you from developing an ulcer because of excess pressure on the bottom of your foot.

You need to wear shoes at all times, even when you're just walking around your house. Stepping on a small rock or another hard object while you're walking can puncture the skin on the bottom of your feet, leading to a diabetic foot ulcer. Wearing shoes all the time will help protect you from this type of injury.

To protect yourself from diabetic foot ulcers that could lead to amputation, the most important thing you need to do is to carefully inspect your feet every day. Treating an ulcer when it's still small helps prevent the infection from spreading further and causing your foot to become gangrenous. If you notice an ulcer forming, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist that offers diabetic foot care services — such as Advanced Podiatry and Wound Care. All of the infected tissue will be removed and the wound will be bandaged so it can heal properly.