Prairie du Chien, WI - More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and anywhere from 14-24% of these individuals with diabetes will develop a diabetic foot ulceration within their lifetime. Diabetic foot ulcers are serious because they can lead to lower extremity amputations.
To prevent diabetic foot ulcerations, Dr. Kristina Thompson, Podiatrist at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien, suggests keeping blood glucose well controlled.
“Prevention is key to avoiding diabetic foot ulcerations. Keeping your blood sugar levels controlled will decrease your risk of developing peripheral neuropathy, as well as the numerous other complications related to diabetes,” Dr. Thompson explained. “Peripheral neuropathy causes a reduction in sensation and can decrease your ability to feel when you have injured the tissues of your foot. It is important to work with your primary care provider or endocrinologist to reach your HbA1c goals.”
In addition to this advice, Dr. Thompson strongly encourages smokers to quit.
“Smoking restricts blood flow, which carries oxygen, to your feet. Smoking also inhibits the body’s healing cells from properly working, decreasing your body’s ability to heal a wound,” Dr. Thompson adds.
Daily foot exams and shoe exams are important, along with wearing properly fitted shoes that conform to the shape of the foot.
“You want a ½ inch space between the end of the shoe and your longest toe. I like laces or straps to adjust for a snug fit. You may benefit from diabetic insoles or custom orthotics. Additionally, avoid tight dress socks,” she explains.
Non-alcohol-based creams applied once daily can help with hydration.
“Avoid placing lotion between your toes to avoid skin breakdown. Also, avoid soaking your feet, as this can actually lead to further drying of your skin,” Dr. Thompson explained.
Regular foot exams by a trained physician can help identify problem areas and address any issues before they become a major problem. Additionally, appropriate nail or callus care has been shown to decrease the incidence of foot ulcers in diabetics.
At Crossing Rivers Health, Dr. Thompson provides comprehensive diagnostic, rehabilitation, and treatment options for a wide range of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs. Learn more about the podiatry services offered at crossingrivers.org/podiatry.