6 Tips for Proper Foot Care for Those with Diabetes

By John C. Jackman, MS, Program Director

According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, the average person takes 10,000 steps each day which adds up to more than three million steps per year. April serves as Foot Health Awareness Month, and is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of foot health.

People with diabetes should be especially concerned with the health of their feet. An estimated 29.1 million people (9.3% of the population) have diabetes, and nearly 28% are undiagnosed. Diabetes can affect the nerves which can cause nerve damage for some people. When this happens, the nerves no longer perceive pain due to numbness and therefore do not alert a person to potential injury.

For people living with diabetes, a poor defense against infection and damage to blood circulation can complicate problems with the feet causing them to become more vulnerable to injury. In 2010, about 73,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed on adults aged 20 years or older with diagnosed diabetes. This accounts for 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations. People with an amputation have a 50% mortality rate within five years. Diabetes related amputations may result from chronic wounds caused by diabetes, especially diabetic foot ulcers. It is estimated that 25% of all diabetics will develop a diabetic foot ulcer.

The Arizona Wound Centers recommends the following for proper foot care if you’re living with diabetes:

  1. Check your feet for sores or other injuries every day. You may have an injury, but cannot feel the pain.

  2. Wash your feet every day and dry them with care, especially between the toes.

  3. Trim your toenails as needed after you’ve washed and dried your feet.

  4. Wear properly fitting shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet.

  5. Always wear socks or stockings with your shoes, and never walk barefoot or while wearing just socks.

  6. Physical activity can help increase circulation in your feet. Consult your healthcare team to see which physical activity is right for you.

For more information about proper foot care, diabetic foot ulcers or how we may be able to help you avoid amputation, contact the Arizona Wound Centers: www.arizonawoundcenters.com (locations in Central Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa).