For diabetics suffering from neuropathy, proper foot care is necessary to live a happy and healthy life.

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet.

If you are diabetic, you need to know how to take care of your feet!
If you are diabetic, you need to know how to take care of your feet!

This condition can manifest in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce the insulin necessary to convert glucose into the energy that the body needs. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body is unable to use insulin properly.

It has been estimated that between 60 to 70 percent of diabetics will deal with some form of neuropathy in their lifetime, compared to only a 25 to 30 percent chance for non-diabetics.

For diabetics already living with neuropathy, or those who may deal with it in the future, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum of Delray Beach Podiatry has come up with several helpful tips to help keep your feet healthy:

Check your feet regularly: Regular foot checks are an increasingly essential part of diabetes management as nerve damage and reduced circulation caused by diabetes can lead to reduced awareness of pain and slower healing of the foot. Foot problems are one of the most common complications associated with diabetes and it’s important to check your feet daily for signs of damage in order to avoid future problems. In severe cases, poor foot care may lead to amputation of a foot or leg. In fact, even something as minimal as a blister or a sore could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound.

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In a recent interview with DiabeticCouncil.com, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, was presented with two questions regarding foot care for newly diagnosed diabetics.

The full article, which features responses from 47 podiatrists around the United States, can be found here, but if you are looking for just Dr. Goldbaum’s responses, they can be be found below.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum (pictured) has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, arriving to South Florida in 1985.
Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum (pictured) has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, arriving to South Florida in 1985.

Q: What tips would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed?

A: The first thing a patient needs to do is realize that everything is going to change in terms of how they take care of their feet. What used to be labeled as a harmless cut or blister now can become something far worse if left untreated. The first thing a newly diagnosed diabetic needs to learn is to work a foot check — the bottom, the top and even in between toes — into their daily routine. A podiatrist should also be called upon to keep tabs on the health of their feet, especially if there are any signs of infection or abnormalities. Given how diabetes negatively affects circulation, even a small scape on the bottom of the foot has the potential to turn into a serious ulcer, as your body’s ability to get a proper amount of blood flow heading to your lower extremities becomes more and more limited. For this reason, increased attention to the state of your feet is one of the key changes all diabetics need to make in order to remain healthy.

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There are numerous struggles diabetics face every day.

The amount of insulin created by your body handles a significant amount of details. When that insulin is not working properly and the sugar levels are not kept in check, several things can happen to one’s body. These have serious consequences and can even be fatal if not addressed quickly.

What Diabetics Should Know About Their Feet

Diabetic Neuropathy & Infection:

Diabetic Neuropathy is a condition where a diabetic loses feeling in their hands and/or feet. If this occurs, it becomes difficult to feel a cut or sore in those areas. Those cuts and sores can then increase in size and scope and therefore become more of a concern. Wounds on the feet, in particular, tend to heal more slowly for Diabetics. These can allow infection into the body, as the feet are meant to protect against disease. In the case of Diabetics, this area is severely weakened and serious issues can arise.

Proper Care for the Diabetic:

Taking proper care of your feet is the first step to hopefully prevent health issues. This means keeping toenails properly trimmed, drying feet thoroughly after a bath or shower or after a walk in the rain and selecting the proper footwear. Socks with good ventilation and shoes that protect your foot and yet give it sufficient room (3/8 inch to ½ inch from longest toe to end of shoe) are key to protecting your feet from some accidental injuries.

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How Diabetes Affects Feet

There are two primary issues that affect feet in diabetic people. The first issue is neuropathy, which results in nerve damage. When diabetes exacts serious nerve damage on the feet, it can reduce sensation in that area, and deprive one of the ability to feel a change in temperature in that part of the body.

Another common issue faced by many diabetics is peripheral vascular disease. Diabetes has the capacity to affect blood flow in the feet. Without sufficient flow of blood, foot healing can be severely impaired in some situations. Furthermore, this can cause portions of the foot to atrophy in some ways. This, however, is not as benign as it sounds. If an infection persists because it cannot heal (as a result of poor blood flow), one faces the risk of developing a condition known as gangrene. Gangrene causes the tissue to die because of a lack of proper blood flow. Quite often, doctors are forced to amputate toes, feet, or even legs to obstruct the spread of this condition. 56,000 people with diabetes have amputations annually, which suggests that the impending risk of developing an infection from poor blood flow is very high for diabetics.

Of course, diabetics have an increased risk for a slew of other foot problems, including athlete’s foot, corns, calluses, blisters, bunions, nail fungus, hammertoes, foot ulcers, and warts. In order to avert the risks associated with these conditions it is important to engage in proper foot care. Read below to learn more.

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