Feet are funny things, aren't they? They're always trotting around getting us where we need to go, and yet most of us take them for granted. That is, until something goes wrong. And when it comes to diabetes and your feet, something can go wrong a lot. If you don't take care of your feet properly, you could end up with some serious complications like neuropathy, ulcers, or even amputation (YIKES!). So today I'm going to give you some tips on how to take care of your feet and keep them healthy, no matter what type of diabetes you have.
Here are some tips for preventing foot pain and other complications if you have diabetes:
- Inspect your feet every day. Check for any cuts, blisters, bruises, or redness. If you can’t see your feet well, use a mirror or ask someone to help you. If you have a minor abrasion or cut, we recommend using Amerigel Wound Gel. This is a great antimicrobial and healing agent that is ideal for superficial wounds.
- Wash your feet every day with warm water and mild soap. Dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. We highly recommend using Mod Pod Clean Antifungal Soap. Not only does this foaming soap fight even the toughest of fungal infections, it also creates a protective barrier against both fungus and bacteria.
- Trim your nails regularly and file any sharp edges. As a diabetic, it is best to have your nails trimmed by a podiatrist (i.e., US!). Most insurance companies will cover having your nails trimmed by us every 9 weeks.
- Never go barefoot, even indoors. Wear shoes or slippers at all times to protect your feet from injury.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking decreases blood flow to your feet and can make foot problems worse.
- Exercise regularly. This will help improve circulation to your feet.
- Keep your blood sugar under control. High blood sugar can damage your nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to foot problems such as neuropathy.
- See a podiatrist regularly, once a year at minimum. During this appointment we can check for problems with your feet, provide treatments to help relieve pain and keep your feet healthy. Prevention is key!
Many diabetic that we see are already suffering from neuropathy- a condition that can cause tingling, burning or numbness in your feet. It can be more noticeable during exercise or at night when you try to fall asleep, and the tingling keeps you awake. This tingling can range from a mild curiosity to irritation to outright pain.
Although it may not seem too alarming, this condition can allow for the creation of ulcers, which can lead to skin infections…and even amputations.
While there is no cure for neuropathy, there are several different methods to ease the pain and discomfort:
Neurontin or Gabapentin is an oral medication that can be taken to decrease the symptoms of neuropathy. This is does not treat neuropathy, but it makes you more comfortable. We usually start patients on a low dose and will slowly increase the dose as needed. We do this to allow your body to adjust. This medication is cumulative and takes approximately one months to feel the maximum benefits.
Note: We cannot prescribe you a prescription for Neurontin if it is already being prescribed by another doctor.
If you are looking to try and repair your nerve damage instead of simply masking the symptoms, laser therapy is a great option. Using an MLS cold laser, we target the nerves that are damaged and attempt to heal them by bringing circulation to the area. The increased blood flow promotes an increase in nourishment to the damaged nerves. Laser treatments are not painful. They encourage healthy nerve function and a reduction in symptoms.
We recommend that you have a minimum of nine laser treatments to start and then at maintenance treatments once a month as needed.
This dietary supplement contains a medical grade dose of Alpha Lipoic Acid, Benfotiamine, Vitamin B6 and B12 to increase nerve health in patients with neuropathy. This is to be taken twice daily. It will not interfere with any other medications you are currently taking and encourage great efficacy in those already taking Gabapentin/Neurontin/Lyrica. Other patients report that they can decrease the dose of their current neuropathy medications with the use of NeuRx.
Note: Please consult your doctor before changing your medication(s).
A compound cream is a combination of medications, such as a muscle relaxer and nerve medication, that have been compounded into a cream to alleviate the symptoms of neuropathy.
Soothe is a potent over-the-counter CBD ointment that contains eucalyptus, tea tree oil and 1000mg of CBD to help soothe and relieve pain caused by neuropathy. Soothe comes in the form of a deodorant stick to make it easy to apply several times throughout the day and provides approximately 4 hours of pain relief.
Feet are often the first part of our body to show signs of diabetes. So, if you’re one of the 25.8 million people in America living with diabetes, it’s important to take care of your feet. That means keeping them clean and dry, inspecting them for sores or cuts, and seeing a podiatrist regularly for checkups. If you have any questions or concerns about your feet and diabetes, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have and help you get on the path to healthy feet. Just give us a call at 859-264-1141 or schedule an appointment online.
There's no doubt that plantar fasciitis can be a real pain in the foot. The condition, which is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia (the bands of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot), can lead to heel pain and stiffness, making it difficult to walk or even stand. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain and stiffness in your arch or heel, especially in the morning when you get out of bed or if you've been sitting on the couch watching TV, sitting at work or driving for a while.
- However, you may not experience classic symptoms such as pain after standing. Pain in the arch or heel that gets worse towards the end of the day is a very common symptom.
- A feeling that your feet are tired and worn out at the end of the day.
- Many patients that have suffered from plantar fasciitis for a long time can also develop heel spurs.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis normally includes stretching, icing, custom orthotics, steroid injections, prescription and OTC medications, topical anti-inflammatories such as Mod Pod Soothe, and laser therapy. However, we have been hearing a lot about flip flops easing plantar fasciitis pain, specifically that wearing flip flops reduces stress to the Achilles tendon and thus eases the pain.
Unfortunately, in our experience, this is not the case. Flip flops do very little to support the arch of the foot, which is what plantar fasciitis sufferers need. The most important feature that flip flops are missing is rearfoot support. The rearfoot is the “brains” of the rest of the foot. When this isn’t supported, the adjacent structures must compensate and often tighten up, causing not only plantar fasciitis, but potentially Achilles tendonitis as well. In fact, flip flops can actually make plantar fasciitis worse by putting extra strain on the plantar fascia because they are very flexible and lack proper support. So, if you're looking for a shoe to help with your plantar fasciitis, flip flops are not the way to go.
Instead, try wearing a supportive, non-flexible tennis shoes such as Brooks, Asics, or New Balance. I am not saying that you must wear tennis shoes all the time, but if you are going to be on your feet a lot of grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry, you need to be in a supportive tennis shoe. It is during these high impact times that your feet need the most support. For a comprehensive lists of supportive shoes that are great for plantar fasciitis, you can check out this blog.
If you are just lounging around, you can wear whatever you want – including flip flops. Just don’t wear flip flops to go to the grocery store or go on a long walk. They are not supportive enough and will cause your plantar fasciitis to flare up.
If you’re still not convinced that flip flops are the enemy of anyone with plantar fasciitis, consider this: wearing shoes without proper arch support will cause your feet and calf muscles to work harder than they should, leading to even more pain in the long run. So, if you’ve been struggling with heel pain, it might be time to invest in a good pair of shoes that offer both stability and cushioning. And if you don’t know where to start, our team can help. We specialize in helping people find the perfect shoes for their feet, so call us at 859-264-1141 or schedule an appointment online today and let us help you put an end to your heel pain once and for all.