Diabetes and Your Feet: What to Know and What to Do to Keep your Feet Healthy

Luke Sicilia, DPM

by Dr. Luke Sicilia, DPM
Upperline Health, Montgomery

Diabetes is a “multi-system” disease, meaning that it impacts more than one of our body’s systems. For patients with Diabetes, Upperline Health’s podiatric physicians and surgeons are primarily concerned with 3 of these systems. The Nervous system, the Circulatory system and the Immune system, all of which can be impacted by Diabetes.

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Let’s begin with your Nervous system. Many patients with diabetes suffer a condition known as loss of protective sensation or Neuropathy. This means they are not able to feel all or part of their feet. This loss of protective sensation means that Diabetic patients could step on something, cut their foot, develop a wound, and not know there is even an issue secondary to not feeling any pain or discomfort.

This can lead to an infection that, if left unnoticed and untreated, may have serious consequences.  Because Diabetes can negatively affect the Circulatory system, the patient suffering from Diabetes may not have adequate blood flow to the foot to heal the injury.  In addition, remember that our Immune system depends on a well-functioning Circulatory system to perform its duties correctly.

Simply put, our Immune system travels in our Circulatory system.  So, if our Circulatory system is not working, the Immune system can’t get to where it needs to go to help us fight and prevent infection.  This is one of the reasons many Diabetic patients who develop a wound cannot heal that wound. A wound that does not heal will not only negatively impact the patient’s quality of life; it can also increase the risk of the infection spreading beyond the foot, leading to even more serious issues.

Foot Care for People with Diabetes

First and foremost, you must control your blood sugar. This starts by working with your Primary Care Physician or Endocrinologist. In addition to designing your medication protocols, they will also suggest that you get out and get some exercise. This is where your Upperline Heath Podiatrist can help.

Did you know that walking just 10 minutes after a meal can have a major impact on your blood sugar control? Walking, however, can be difficult though if your feet are not up for the task. So, what do you do? Visit your Upperline Health Podiatrist at least once a year. Once you have been examined and cleared for activity, make sure you have the right shoes.

Shoes for Diabetic patients are very important. In fact, Diabetic patients who meet the criteria are eligible to receive one pair of shoes per year through our Upperline Plus program. This will ensure that you are in the best shoes for you.

Diabetes Foot Care Do’s:
7 Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy

Below is a list of things we also recommend you do to ensure the health of your feet.

  1. Check your feet daily looking for any signs of redness, irritation or color change. If you notice any contact your Upperline Podiatrist to schedule an appointment.
  2. Moisturize your feet daily.
  3. Wear clean dry socks and change them daily.
  4. Always shake out your shoes before putting them on to ensure there is nothing inside of them.
  5. Keep your feet warm and dry.
  6. Always break in your new shoes to avoid irritation or wounds. A good rule of thumb here is to increase your time in the new shoes by one hour each day for 7 days.
  7. Schedule a visit with your Upperline Podiatrist if you have any questions or concerns about any issues with your feet.

Diabetic Foot Care Don’ts:
4 Things to Avoid

Now that you know what to do let’s look at some things Diabetics should avoid when it comes to their feet.

  1. Never walk barefoot.  This is the easiest way to avoid damage to the foot.
  2. Do not attempt to cut your own nails.
  3. Do not attempt to cut or remove any corn or calluses from your feet.
  4. Never ignore a problem with your feet.

Managing your Diabetes starts with you. The Podiatric Physicians at Upperline Health are here to help you every step of the way. We want to make sure that we work together as a team to maintain the health of not only your feet and your whole body.  That help starts by making an appointment with your Upperline Health Podiatrist.

In Montgomery, I am proud to deliver the highest level of care to my patients with diabetes. I am a husband and delighted father of two wonderful children. In addition to being an avid athlete, I am proud to serve my country as a Lieutenant in the 1-167th INF BN.

Dr. Luke Sicilia is well trained in treating all aspects of the foot and ankle in his Diabetic and non-Diabetic patients and children. He sees a wide range of conditions in his office at 1558 E Trinity Blvd and welcomes the opportunity to serve all patients in the greater Montgomery area. Please call our office at (334) 396-3338 or visit us online to schedule your appointment.  Dr. Sicilia and his staff appreciate your trust and look forward to meeting you.