(StatePoint) Maintaining happy, healthy feet is fundamental for a great quality of life. Unfortunately, diabetes can have a significant impact on feet, increasing the risk of such conditions as peripheral artery disease, peripheral neuropathy and diabetic foot ulcers.
Whether you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the disease, the experts at the American Podiatric Medical Association suggest taking the following five steps towards better foot health.
1. Get an annual foot exam.
Specially trained to treat conditions of the foot and ankle that are caused by diabetes, todayâ€™s podiatrists should be an important part of your health-care team. An annual foot exam can help prevent complications before they happen.Â
2. Perform daily self-exams.
Check your feet every day. If you notice any changes on your nails, in your skin or of the temperature of your feet, make an appointment to see your podiatrist immediately.
3. Seek professional foot care.
Never try to treat calluses, ingrown toenails or other foot conditions on your own. Home treatment is especially risky for people with diabetes, who could develop dangerous infections.
4. Opt for comfortable, well-fitting footwear.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage, or neuropathy, a loss of sensation in your feet, meaning that people with diabetes can injure their feet without knowing it. To avoid injuries, podiatrists recommend against going barefootÂ and to instead wear well-fitting shoes and socks to protect your feet.
5. Take a team approach.
Think of your healthcare professionals as a team, for a more holistic approach to your diabetes treatment. Todayâ€™s podiatrist will collaborate with you, your primary care physician and other specialists to establish the right approach for your individual needs.
More information about diabetes and foot health can be found at www.apma.org/diabetes.Â
Remember, your feet are often a good indicator of your overall health, so you need to look after them. If you have diabetes, taking extra steps to promote healthy feet can improve your well-being.
Photo 1 Credit: (c) Footprints - apma.org
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