Diabetic foot infections are a common cause of foot amputations in people with diabetes. They usually start as a small sore or lesion that gets worse with time. If the sore remains untreated, it gets infected. If the infection remains untreated, it spreads and causes the sore to grow.
If the growing sore and the underlying infection are left unchecked, the foot becomes gangrenous. At this point, doctors will often opt to amputate the foot in order to stop the spread of the infection.
Luckily, these foot infections can be prevented with a little care and attention. Here are a few simple preventative measures to keep foot infections from happening in the first place.
Tips for preventing diabetic foot infections
1. Inspect the feet every day
A common effect of diabetes is decreased sensation in the feet and toes. This means that a person may have a small cut or scratch and remain completely unaware of it. Which is why it is important for a person to use their eyesight to make sure that their feet are okay.
A daily foot inspection involves checking for broken skin or calluses and checking between the toes for signs of athlete’s foot.
2. Keep the feet clean and dry
Clean feet are at a lower risk of infection. Dry toes minimize or eliminate the risk of athlete’s feet, a fungal infection that can be harmful to diabetics.
That is why a diabetic should clean their feet daily, or whenever the feet get exposed to dirt. To protect their feet from germs and small cuts, a diabetic should also avoid walking barefoot.
They should take their time to dry their feet, especially the areas between the toes.
Dry feet are more prone to cracking, so a person with diabetes should moisturize and lubricate their skin to prevent it from breaking and becoming exposed to infection.
4. Wear the right kinds of footwear
The wrong footwear can chafe, scratch or cut the feet. If the skin on the feet breaks open, it becomes an entryway for infection. A diabetic should choose their shoes with care. They should choose shoes that are neither large nor tight. Also, the shoes should have zero edges or rough surfaces.
As for socks and other clothing, a diabetic should wear items that have no seams in them. The clothing should not be tight enough to cut off blood circulation in the legs and feet.
5. Be careful when clipping the toenails
Be sure not to cut the toes when trimming the toenails, and never cut the part of the nail at the corner of a toe. File it down instead.
To avoid cutting themselves, a person who has little or no sensation in the toes should get their nails trimmed by a doctor or an appropriate kind of medical professional.
6. Do not ignore a small sore
Where diabetics and sores are concerned, at-home care is not an option. See a doctor whenever the foot develops even the smallest sore. The body of a diabetic may not be able to heal itself without help.
7. Get regular checkups
A doctor is the best person to confirm that a person’s diabetes is under control, so get regular checkups. The doctor may pick up on something that would otherwise be missed.
Keep your feet healthy to live a full and active life
If you have diabetes, then diabetic foot infections are a real concern, but you can keep enjoying your life. In fact, it could be just the wake-up call to get you on the path to wellness. To control your diabetes, enjoy a life of diet and exercise while caring for your feet.
What is the last time a doctor had a look at your feet? If it has been a while, stop by our offices and let us help you keep your feet in good condition.
Request an appointment here: https://www.pocatellopodiatry.com or call Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic at (208) 803-0010 for an appointment in our Pocatello office.
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