While Diabetes may affect many parts of the body including the eyes and kidneys, the feet and legs are one of the most commonly affected areas. For this reason, it is very important that diabetics take special care of their feet.
If they are unable to take care of their feet on their own, it is imperative that a family member, friend, or caregiver be enlisted to help so that foot problems can be detected early and complications can be avoided. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
On many occasions I see diabetic patients who have a sincere desire to, but are unable to perform their own foot care due to physical limitations. On the other hand, I also see many patients who for one reason or another simply do not have the motivation to take care of their feet.
What I have come to learn over time is that this motivation is usually not an innate lake of desire but more a lack of understanding of their condition. This can usually easily be instilled in most people by educating them on their condition (with the help of a physician) as well as having someone who can help be a partner with them to help provide support, accountability and motivation.
How many of us make fitness goals to go the gym and lose weight only to fail over and over again? Research has shown that having a workout partner increases accountability and performance nearly 100%. Everyone who has diabetes needs a “work out partner” in my opinion.
When many patients are diagnosed with diabetes they often present to my office and immediately start telling me of the horror stories they have heard from their friends of getting foot ulcers and losing toes and limbs. It’s as if patients drive to my office in a hearse just to tell me of the death sentence they have been handed.
When in reality nothing is further than the truth.
Yes, people with diabetes need to pay extra special attention to their feet, yes, people with diabetes may get sores that may can difficult to heal at times, but yes, diabetics who are motivated to take care of themselves usually live healthy lives and without all of the complications that are so often talked about and feared.
So, what should you do if you notice a loved one not taking care of their diabetic feet?
First, tell them of your love and care for them and let them know that you want to be a partner with them in their efforts. Do not belittle, degrade or criticize.
Second, ask them if they will accompany you to THEIR doctor, podiatrist, specialist etc. so that YOU may learn how you can help.
Third, praise to high heaven when goals are reached, however large or small, because any accomplishment is worthy of a pat on the back. Research has shown that the brain is as stimulated by a compliment as it is by a cash reward. And who wouldn’t like a little cash?
If you have diabetes and need more information about how to help care for your feet call our office at 859-264-1411 or make an online appointment.