The Importance of Proper Diabetic Foot Care
You take care of your diabetes by watching your diet and tracking your blood sugar levels, but also crucial to your health and safety is protecting your diabetic feet. Especially susceptible to cuts and infections, proper care of your feet is of the upmost importance.
Dr. Esther Barnes of Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Clinic in Kalispell, MT, can help you protect and treat your diabetic feet. Here is what you should know about diabetic foot care.
How does diabetes affect my feet?
Diabetes causes a reduction in blood flow to your feet, as well as nerve damage that impairs your ability to feel pain or discomfort. Because of the lack of sensation, you may experience a cut or irritation that goes unnoticed, leading to sores or wounds. The prolonged lack of treatment, along with diminished blood flow, increases the chance these cuts will become infected and slow to heal.
The combination of poor circulation and lingering sores could lead to gangrene, the death of tissue, requiring amputation of the foot, toe or part of the leg. Visit your podiatrist at our Kalispell, MT office immediately if you have open, pussing, or prolonged wounds on your feet.
How do I know if my diabetic feet are unhealthy?
Signs that your feet are not being properly cared for include numbness, recurring sores or blisters, infected corns, yellowing and thickening toenails or a tingling and burning sensation. Make sure to report any symptoms you are experiencing with your podiatrist auto our Kalispell, MT office.
How do I care for my diabetic feet?
Diligent, thorough foot care is essential for keeping your feet healthy. Make sure to see your podiatrist at our Kalispell, MT office for regular examinations in addition to practicing the following:
- Clean your feet in lukewarm water and dry them thoroughly
- Regularly examine your feet for cuts, inflammation, swelling, discharge or signs of irritation
- Keep your feet moisturized, but ensure the spaces between your toes are dry to prevent the growth of fungus
- Trim your toenails straight across, leaving a portion of the white tip visible
- Make sure to wear clean, dry socks and shoes at all times, both indoors and outdoors
- Only wear shoes that fit well, and check the interior for any foreign objects before putting them on.
At Step Ahead Foot and Ankle Clinic in Kalispell, MT, your foot health is our priority. Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist today by calling (406) 755-2818.
UPDATE 3/23/20: In attempt to maintain the safety of our patients, employees, and the community, the office is physically closed, other than for the care of patients with urgent concerns / emergenices only. Attempts will be made to return phone calls Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 1PM. Please use the "Request an Appointment" resource above to request an appointment. If an established patient, we encourage you to log into the Patient Portal and send a message to Dr. Barnes or the office with any questions or concerns. Thank you.
TeleHealth and Tele-Visits in the time of COVID-19
Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Clinic, PC has initiated a TeleHealth Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic for a number of reasons:
1.) Our top priority has always been, and continues to be, Patient, Employee, Community Health and Safety.
2.) With the primary goal of triaging, or prioritizing what's urgent and what's not, Dr. Barnes seeks to help patients with the foot concerns over the phone or computer. Caring for patients in this way, and arranging for visits in clinic if necessary (infections, ulcerations, injuries) and in a controlled environment, she hopes to do her part in allowing to the Urgent Cares and Emergencies Rooms help those with needs related to the virus.
3.) Although Dr. Barnes obviously cannot physicially treat you or other patients over the phone or computer, she can hopefully see if your concern would be best treated physically, and arrange for this to be done. If she can help give you direction and advice over the computer or phone, she will do so. This particularly applies to you if you have foot pain, as many treatment options can be relayed in this way (stretches, shoe recommendations, orthotic recommendations).
4.) During this time of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, Dr. Barnes wants to do her part in helping you do the things you need to do (caring for a loved one, running outside for stress relief, or walking on a treadmill at home, for example) without foot pain interfering. She does't want you to have to wait months or an indefinite period of time for you to get back on your feet! "CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A TELEVISIT."