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How can I avoid developing foot ulcers?
Foot ulcers usually begin as pressure points, blisters, or calluses. It is important to wear shoes that protect the feet and that aren't too tight over the pressure points of the feet. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and follow your diabetes medication regimen to stay in good general health. Check your feet daily for changes and practice good diabetic foot care.
What are general diabetic foot care and footwear recommendations?
Wash and dry your feet gently, including the areas between toes. Examine your feet daily for blisters, cuts, redness, swelling or other changes. Trim toenails straight across and gently use an Emory board to smooth sharp edges. Wear clean, dry socks that do not have tight or prominent seams. Wear shoes with a supportive sole that have a rounded toe. Avoid high heels or narrow-toed shoes. Do not use over the counter callus or wart remover medications. Do not soak your feet in hot water or use heating pads to warm the feet.
What should I do if I notice a foot ulcer or other changes in my feet?
If you are concerned that you might have a foot ulcer or if you have noticed other changes to your feet such as unexplained swelling, pain, or change in the shape of the foot, see a podiatrist or your primary care provider. Early treatment usually leads to a quicker recovery and also may avoid more serious problems such as a diabetic foot infection or amputation. Any wound that does not show signs of healing in a week or two should be evaluated right away.
Do I need to see a doctor even if I have no foot issues?
People with diabetes should have their feet examined at least once a year. Your primary care provider or podiatrist can help to identify problems such as early signs of nerve damage, poor circulation or other problems.
Eric Hart, DPM, is associated with Sanford Podiatry in Bismarck. He completed his medical degree at California School of Podiatric Medicine, Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, and residency at Podiatry: Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to general podiatry, Hart has special interests in diabetic wound care, and provides medical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle for patients of all ages.