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Q: I have diabetes. How do I take care of my feet?

Posted February 12, 2014 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

evansA: One common complication from diabetes is neuropathy, or nerve damage, to the feet. Neuropathy significantly increases a diabetic person’s risk for foot damage, as he or she might not be able to feel blisters or foot distress. It is important for all people to take good care of their feet to ensure a healthy lifestyle, but for this reason, it becomes even more important for people with diabetes to properly assess their feet.

The best way to prevent foot damage is to consistently check shoes for pebbles or rough edges. Look for signs of blisters or cuts daily. In many cases, these wounds can be easily treated by washing with soap and rinsing with saline. Soaking actually weakens the skin around the wound, which in some cases can initially worsen the wound. For this reason, it is important first to seek attention of a doctor prior to soaking a wounded diabetic foot and to report all wounds that do not seem to heal to your primary care physician.

Since neuropathy is prevalent with diabetes, people with long-standing diabetes should arrange a yearly check-up with a foot care professional to ensure problems are not arising or remaining persistent. This simple precaution will help preserve mobility and independence.

Information provided by Dr. Lee Evans, podiatrist at Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons (DMOS) 6001 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, (515) 224-5224.

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