Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes is a large and growing epidemic in our society. In the State of Florida, more than 1 in 8 people live with the disease, including more than 1 in 4 seniors over 65. Every year, almost 130,000 Floridians are newly diagnosed. Diabetes frequently leads to significant health problems and complications, including in the feet.
At Omega Medical Group (OMG), it’s our goal to fully educate all our patients about their conditions, the risks they face, the treatments they need, and the home care practices they’ll need to follow. If you have diabetes, this education is especially important. With proper foot care, those with diabetes can live full, healthy, pain-free lives for years to come. However, lack of proper management can lead to problems such as extensive nerve damage in the legs (neuropathy), impairment of your body’s natural healing ability, and development of diabetic wounds on the feet that won’t heal. In severe cases, bones in the feet may crumble (a condition called Charcot arthropathy) or you may need an amputation to remove dead tissues and prevent the further spread of infection.
Daily Diabetic Foot Checks Are a Must
Because diabetes often damages nerves in the lower legs, people with diabetes can’t always “feel” when something is wrong, such as a cut, bruise, or even bone fracture. And because decreased circulation may prevent fast healing, those tiny problems can become serious wounds if you don’t catch them in time.
A daily foot care and inspection routine is a must for anyone with this disease. After cleaning and drying your feet, sit in a well-lit area and perform a thorough inspection, including the soles and between your toes. Use a mirror if you need to. Check for anything out of the ordinary—redness, swelling, cuts, bruises, corns, calluses, dry and cracked skin, discolored or jagged toenails, or other skin and nail problems. Then, feel your feet with your hands, checking for bumps and temperature changes.
Keep a log of what you find. If you notice any new irregularities, or if any existing problems have worsened or aren’t going away, give us a call right away to schedule a checkup. You should also schedule an annual checkup with our office so we can perform addition screenings and examinations to detect problems before they happen, keeping you safe.
Preventative Home Care for Diabetes
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a cure for diabetes. However, symptoms can be managed and the development of complications can be slowed or halted with preventative care.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your feet every day with warm, soapy water. Dry thoroughly and apply moisturizes to prevent dry, cracking skin.
- Protect your feet. Always wear comfortable, breathable, supportive shoes (even at home) to avoid accidental injuries. We can help you find a good pair, or provide special diabetic shoes for this purpose.
- Eat healthy. You should pursue a mostly plant-based diet with some healthy fats, and appropriate portion control.
- Exercise regularly—but safely. Staying active and controlling weight are critical, but experiencing harsh impacts from some forms of exercise may be dangerous on bones and tissues weakened by diabetes. Ask us if you need help creating a safe and effective exercise plan.
- Check your sugar regularly and keep it in a healthy range. Elevated blood sugar causes nerve and circulatory damage in the lower legs, making complications more likely.
How We Help People with Diabetes with Their Foot Problems
The OMG team, including podiatrist Dr. Marizeli Olacio and vascular surgeon Dr. Manuel Gonzalez, is dedicated to providing the best possible care for our diabetes patients. Our focus is always on preventative care first, and we use state-of-the-art tools and training to do everything in our power to salvage limbs, avoid amputation, and restore your feet to their highest possible level of function so you can continue to enjoy the activities and lifestyle you desire.
Our office provides a variety of conservative treatments and non-invasive vascular studies to help monitor the health of your lower limbs, assess risks, and diagnose and treat problems. For those who have developed severe complications, we provide advanced wound care with a focus on preventing or curing infections and avoiding amputations, and Dr. Olacio is specially trained in reconstructive surgery for Charcot arthropathy.
Everything we do is geared toward giving you the best possible chance of maintaining or restoring full, healthy feet as quickly as possible, so you can continue to live your best possible life now and into the future.
Diabetes poses huge problems for feet, but those problems are almost always preventable with the right knowledge, planning, and care. Don’t wait until symptoms deteriorate—please visit Omega Medical Group in North Miami Beach or Miami Shores. To schedule an appointment, call (305) 514-0404 today.