Most of the time, if you’re seeing a doctor for anything other than a routine physical or checkup, it’s because something hurts. Maybe you twisted your ankle playing basketball, or have been experiencing sudden abdominal cramps. Nobody likes pain, of course, but it’s a useful motivator that will get you to recognize and fix a problem.
Well, what if you don’t get the warning? What if problems develop and your health begins to deteriorate without you even noticing? That in a nutshell, is why diabetic foot inspections are so important.
Over time, many people with diabetes also develop a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Excessively high levels of sugar are toxic for nerve health, and the peripheral nerves in the extremities (and especially the legs and feet) sustain damage the builds over time. This, in turn, impairs your ability to accurately sense pain in your feet. The next time you get a cut or blister, you may not notice a problem until after it has time to worsen and grow, or even become infected. In the worst-case scenario, this might even cause you to lose a foot (or more) due to tissue death and amputation.
The best way to prevent a truly serious complication from spiraling out of control? Carefully check your own feet at least once per day. Anything that doesn’t look or feel right should be considered a concern—cuts, blisters, swelling, discoloration, cold or hot temperatures, etc. Make sure you check the nails, between the toes, everywhere. If you identify any problems, follow up with us.
In addition to your daily checks, you should be scheduling regular diabetic foot checks along a schedule determined between you and your podiatrist—usually once per year. This is because the signs of peripheral neuropathy (and low circulation, another common diabetes complication) are not always apparent until extensive damage has already occurred—unless you get tested by a physician. By checking in with us along regular intervals, you give yourself an even better opportunity to prevent problems before they occur.
Don’t let diabetic foot problems spiral out of control! Stop them before they begin by being disciplined with your inspections and checkups. To schedule an appointment at the Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic and Dr. Timothy Dailey, please give us a call or fill out our online form!