How Do I Know I Have Diabetic Feet?
If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, and you have concerns about how it may affect your feet, then your mind is certainly in the right place. The complications of diabetes on the feet can be especially dire and debilitating, so they are very much worth thinking about.
Where someone’s mind might not correctly be, however, is in the right time. If you are waiting for a sign to tell you when your feet are in danger of diabetic complications, you are waiting for something to arrive way too late.
Do you have diabetes? If you do, that means you also have diabetic feet right now, and it’s time to start paying attention to them. Efforts should be focused on maintenance and prevention, and Foot & Ankle Clinics of Arizona is specially equipped to help on a medical level.
Staying on Top of Diabetic Foot Monitoring
What makes diabetic foot problems so troublesome is the way they manage to creep in so gradually over time. This is especially true when it comes to circulatory matters.
As diabetes and other related circulation problems interfere with the ability to efficiently transport blood throughout the body, the feet are often the first to suffer. Injuries to the feet can take more and more time to heal, as they receive more restricted flows of nutrients and healing factors to conduct repairs. Nerves can slowly grow more damaged, which can lead to a lack of sensation in the feet—so you don’t even know when an injury has occurred.
The two above factors together can create a very dangerous scenario. That is why it is crucial to begin preventative monitoring and care now—both to impede the progression of these problems, and quickly identify when additional treatment is needed.
Our practice provides the full range of direct and preventative diabetic foot care services you would expect from a podiatrist, including routine checkups and prompt wound care whenever needed.
However, we also have an important service many podiatry practices do not: our own vascular screening lab.
Our vascular screening lab is overseen by our in-house cardiologist. It provides us the opportunity to regularly test circulation and have direct access to the full history of your results. This helps us much more effectively track the effects of diabetes on your circulation over time, and prevents you from having to take another trip somewhere else to get the testing conducted.
Among our available tests, we can monitor the flow of blood through both the arteries and veins of your legs, looking for changes over time and potential obstructions. We are also capable of monitoring your blood pressure within your ankles and even the tiny blood vessels within the toes. Having this information will help us know when and how to take action if unfavorable changes start to emerge.
What Can You Do for Your Diabetic Feet?
Proper diabetic foot care and maintenance is far from a duty performed only with us at the podiatry office. It is also something that every person who lives with diabetes should be performing independently on a daily basis.
By developing healthy habits, a lot of big problems can be prevented before they ever have a chance to emerge. This involves behaviors such as:
- Managing your diabetes well. If you are just starting out making changes to your lifestyle in the name of better health, we know that it can be difficult. But every step you take toward regulating your blood sugar, eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, and safely exercising is a step toward your better overall health and comfort—especially for your feet.
- Protecting your feet from irritation and injury. There is a lot out there that can injure the feet, and if you are not aware that it happened, that little injury can turn into a big, dangerous ulcer. We are not asking you to be forever paranoid about where you walk, but simple steps such as cleaning up walkways in and around your home, wearing diabetic shoes and socks that are made to reduce irritation, and limiting your barefoot time can all add up.
- Inspecting your feet daily. This is an important habit to start now, even if your feet look and feel perfectly healthy. Choose a consistent part of the day—such as waking up, going to bed, or getting out of the shower—when you can easily look over your feet. Check for signs of injuries, sores, ingrown toenails, fungal infection, warts—anything that should not be there. When you find something, let us know. If it is something that needs attention, we will get you in as quickly as possible; however, we will very likely not ask you to come in every time you find something. Still, every report is important and added to our records. We can use this data to help identify trends and recommend changes and treatments to avoid further problems.
If you would like further information on diabetic foot care, please feel free to request a free download of our guide, Diabetic Foot Care: What it Means & Why It Matters.
Living Your Best Life with Comfort and Mobility
We won’t lie: diabetes can be a challenge to learn how to manage, but our ultimate goal here at Foot & Ankle Clinics of Arizona is to help patients have as healthy and active a future as they can through support and preventative care now.
We have multiple offices throughout the greater Phoenix area, ready to help you with long-term diabetic foot care. Give us a call at (480) 917-2300 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our online contact form if you wish to reach out electronically.