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Diabetic Foot Ulcer Prevention – How to Take Care


If you have diabetes, one of the most important things you can do is take excellent care of your feet. People with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of developing foot ulcers – open sores that can become severely infected and lead to catastrophic complications like amputation.

But here’s the good news – diabetic foot ulcers are highly preventable through proper foot care. By following some simple steps, you can keep your feet healthy and avoid these dangerous wounds. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about diabetic foot ulcer prevention.

Why Diabetics Are at Risk for Foot Ulcers

To understand why prevention diabetic foot care is so crucial, it’s helpful to know how diabetes increases the risk of developing foot ulcers. Diabetes can cause two main problems that set the stage for these wounds:

  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) – Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves, particularly in the legs and feet. This neuropathy causes numbness, which prevents you from feeling injuries like cuts, blisters, or rubbing from shoes.
  • Poor circulation – Diabetes also restricts blood flow, which impairs healing. Minor cuts or sores that could heal quickly in someone without diabetes can worsen into ulcers.

The combination of numbness from neuropathy (so you don’t feel injuries) and poor circulation makes even small wounds escalate into larger, more serious ulcers that stubbornly refuse to heal. That’s why diligent prevention through daily foot care is essential for diabetic foot ulcer prevention.

The A-B-Cs of Diabetic Foot Ulcer Prevention

Luckily, there are some straightforward steps you can take to prevent foot ulcers and keep your feet healthy with diabetes. Just remember the A-B-Cs:

  • A – Annual Foot Exams
  • B – Best Footwear
  • C – Check Daily

Let’s dive into each one:

A – Annual Comprehensive Foot Exams

Get your feet checked thoroughly by your doctor or podiatrist at least once per year. During this exam, the clinician will:

  • Inspect your bare feet, checking for any existing sores, blisters, or problem areas
  • Test your sensation using a monofilament (like a stiff nylon brush) to assess for neuropathy
  • Check your pulse to evaluate circulation
  • Look for any foot deformities like bunions or hammertoes that could create pressure points
  • Provide guidance on proper foot care tailored to your individual risk factors

Don’t skip these annual foot exams! They allow your care team to monitor for developing issues and give you personalised advice to prevent ulcers. Catching problems early is key.

B – The Best Footwear for Diabetics

What you put on your feet is just as important as checking them. Prevention diabetic foot care helps avoid excessive friction or pressure that can lead to skin injuries and ulcers. Follow these tips:

  • Choose shoes with deep, roomy toe boxes – Your toes shouldn’t be cramped
  • Look for shoes with extra cushioning and no interior seams that could rub
  • Replace athletic shoes every 6 months or sooner if the cushioning wears out
  • Always inspect inside shoes before putting them on to check for objects
  • Consider diabetic therapeutic shoes if you have foot deformities or previous ulcers

Never go barefoot, even around the house! Socks alone don’t provide enough protection. Always wear shoes indoors and out. Your podiatrist can recommend ideal footwear for your needs.

C – Check Your Feet Daily

This is the most important diabetic foot ulcer prevention step – inspect your bare feet daily, carefully examining every nook and cranny. What should you be looking for?

  • Cuts, sores, blisters, or scratches (even very minor ones)
  • Areas of thick, calloused skin building up
  • Redness, swelling, warmth, or other signs of irritation or infection
  • Toenails that need trimming to avoid ingrown nails
  • Dry, cracked skin that needs moisturising

If you notice any of these issues, don’t ignore them! Something that seems minor could quickly escalate into an ulcer if not addressed promptly. Be diligent about daily foot checks.

Use a handheld mirror to inspect the underside of your feet if you have trouble seeing that area. Or enlist the help of a family member if mobility is limited. Don’t neglect this essential daily ritual.

Other Diabetic Foot Ulcer Prevention Tips

In addition to the A-B-Cs above, keep these other foot care guidelines in mind:

  • Never try to remove calluses, corns or warts yourself – let a podiatrist handle these
  • Trim toenails straight across and file any sharp edges to avoid ingrown nails
  • Apply a thin coat of unscented body lotion to keep skin soft (avoiding between toes)
  • Wash and carefully dry feet daily, checking for any injuries during the process
  • Don’t soak feet, as this can lead to drying and cracking of the skin
  • Avoid hot surfaces like heating pads or hot water bottles that you may not feel
  • Stop smoking to improve circulation in the feet and legs
  • Keep blood sugars controlled as much as possible to prevent nerve damage
  • Be more vigilant with daily checks if you’ve lost sensation in your feet

By taking these prevention diabetic foot care measures, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of developing dangerous ulcers and facing potential amputation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to diabetic feet!

The Importance of Early Treatment

Despite your best efforts, ulcers can still sometimes develop in people with diabetes if minor cuts or sores aren’t caught quickly enough.

If you do notice any open wound on your foot, don’t self-treat or wait it out! Promptly make an appointment with your podiatrist or foot care team. Acting rapidly at the first sign of a potential ulcer gives you the best chance of allowing it to heal properly before it becomes a larger issue.

With specialised diabetic foot ulcer prevention like debridement (removing dead skin), offloading (taking pressure off the area), applying bioengineered dressings, and controlling any infection, most new ulcers can be successfully treated before worsening when caught early.

For existing ulcers that won’t heal, advanced wound care approaches like negative pressure therapy may be needed. But the best policy is vigilant prevention to avoid these wounds in the first place whenever possible.

Your Feet Are a Priority

Developing an ulcer on your foot due to diabetes is far more than just an inconvenience. These wounds have the potential to rapidly worsen and even lead to life-altering amputations if not treated properly.That’s why prevention diabetic foot care needs to be at the top of your self-care checklist. By implementing the A-B-Cs of prevention, choosing the right footwear, being meticulous about daily checks, and working closely with your care team, you can keep your feet healthy and ulcer-free. Don’t let diabetes put your feet at risk – make prevention your priority! If you are looking for specialised care and close attention to your treatment and progress, you may want to get in touch with Dr. Moxit Shah. As an esteemed Endocrinologist, he focuses on diagnosing and treating health issues associated with hormones and different forms of diabetes. Dr. Moxit Shah is particularly skilled in effectively handling diabetes caused by steroids, offering thorough care and assistance.