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Diabetic Foot 

Note: We do not recommend products in our online store for people with diabetes.  We recommend that you come into our store or find a Board Certified Pedorthist near you to help you with shoes and inserts. 

If you have diabetes, foot problems are a big risk. Like all diabetic people, you should monitor your feet. If you don't, the consequences can be severe, including amputation, or worse.

Minor injuries become major emergencies before you know it. With a diabetic foot, a wound as small as a blister from wearing a shoe that's too tight can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes decreases your blood flow, so your injuries are slow to heal. When your wound is not healing, it's at risk for infection. As a diabetic, your infections spread quickly.

If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet every day. Look for puncture wounds, bruises, pressure areas, redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts and nail problems. Get someone to help you, or use a mirror. Feel each foot for swelling. Examine between your toes. Check six major locations on the bottom of each foot: The tip of the big toe, base of the little toes, base of the middle toes, heel, outside edge of the foot and across the ball of the foot. Check for sensation in each foot.

If you find any injury—no matter how slight—don't try to treat it yourself. Go to a doctor right away.

Simple daily footcare can prevent serious problems. According to the National Institute of Health, the following simple everyday steps will help prevent serious complications from diabetes:

Take Care of Your Diabetes

Make healthy lifestyle choices to keep your blood sugar close to normal. Work with your health care team to create a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle characteristics. Check Your Feet Every Day. You may have foot problems that you are not aware of. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, or infected toenails. Checking your feet should become part of your daily routine. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help. You can also ask a family member to help you. Important Reminder: Be sure to call your doctor immediately if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not heal after one day.
  • Wash Your Feet Every Day
  • Wash your feet in warm, NOT HOT, water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry. Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You should use a thermometer or your elbow. Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes. Use talcum powder to keep the skin dry between the toes.
  • Keep the Skin Soft and Smooth
  • Rub a thin coat of skin lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of the feet. Do not put lotion between your toes, because this might cause infection.
  • Wear Shoes and Socks At All Times
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot, not even indoors. It is extremely easy to step on something and hurt your feet. Always wear seamless socks, stockings, and nylons with your shoes to help avoid the possibility of blisters and sores developing. Be sure to choose seamless socks that are made of materials that wick moisture away from your feet and absorb shock and shear. Socks made of these materials help keep your feet dry. Always check the insides of your shoes before putting them on. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no foreign objects in the shoe, such as pebbles. Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
  • Protect Your Feet From Hot and Cold
  • Always wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Put sunscreen on the tops of your feet for protection from the sun. Keep your feet away from radiators or open fires. DO NOT use hot water bottle or heating pads on your feet. If your feet are cold, wear seamless socks at night. Lined boots are good to keep your feet warm in the winter. Choose socks carefully. DO NOT wear socks with seams or bumpy areas. Choose padded socks to protect your feet and make walking more comfortable. In cold weather, check your feet often to keep your feet warm avoid frostbite.
  • Keep the Blood Flowing to Your Feet
  • Put your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.
  • DO NOT cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • DO NOT wear tight socks, elastic, or rubber bands, or garters around your legs.
  • DO NOT wear restrictive footwear or foot products. Foot products that can cut off circulation to the feet, such as products with elastic, should not be worn by diabetics.
  • DO NOT smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, work with your health care team to lower it.
  • Be More Active
  • Ask your doctor to plan an exercise program that is right for you. Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet. Avoid all activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping. Always include a short warm-up or cool-down period. Wear protective walking or athletic shoes that fit well and offer good support.
  • Communicate With Your Doctor
  • Ask your doctor to check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet at least once a year. Ask your doctor to tell you immediately if you have serious foot problems. Ask your doctor for proper footcare tips and for the name of your local podiatrist.

Tips About Buying New Shoes
 
  • Uppers should be made of leather or other material that is soft and breathable
  • Soles should be shock absorbant, and only flex in the toe area (where your foot bends)
  • Lace closures are preferred, but velcro is acceptable.  Avoid slip-ons 
  • Shoes should be long enough so that there is at least 1/4 inch between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe
  • Shoes should be wide enough so that there is no pressure on the upper material from your foot
  • Make sure the widest part of your foot fits into the widest part of the shoe
  • If you have neuropathy or loss of sensation, have your fit checked by a Board Certified Pedorthist 
 
Foot Deformities
 

When your feet lose their feeling, they are at risk for becoming deformed. One way this happens is through ulcers. Open sores may become infected. Another way is the bone condition Charcot (pronounced "sharko") foot. This is one of the most serious foot problems you can face. It warps the shape of your foot when your bones fracture and disintegrate, and yet you continue to walk on it because it doesn't hurt.

A doctor may treat your diabetic foot ulcers and early phases of Charcot fractures with a total contact cast. The shape of your foot molds the cast. It lets your ulcer heal by distributing weight and relieving pressure. If you have Charcot foot, the cast controls your foot's movement and supports its contours if you don't put any weight on it. To use a total contact cast, you need good blood flow in your foot. Your doctor monitors it carefully. The cast is changed every week or two until your foot heals.

A custom-walking boot is an another way to treat your Charcot foot. It supports the foot until all the swelling goes down, which can take as long as a year. You should keep from putting your weight on the Charcot foot. Surgery is considered if your deformity is too severe for a brace or shoe.