Finding out that you have diabetes can be a terrible shock. There’s so much to learn about diet, medications and monitoring your blood sugar levels. So the thought that you also need to take special care of your feet may seem like yet another burdensome worry to deal with.
You’ll be glad to know that effective diabetic foot care comes down to a few basic steps that are easy to follow. Here are the fundamentals you should know as you get started.
TO PROTECT YOUR FEET, MANAGE DIABETIC SYMPTOMS FIRST
Diabetes triggers changes in the body that increase the risk of serious foot problems. Issues such as poor blood circulation and nerve damage often show up in our feet first, since the feet are the farthest extremities from the heart.
Making sure your blood glucose stays at the appropriate levels is the best way to prevent foot problems. Partner with your health team to create a monitoring and treatment plan that works for you. Integrate the steps into your lifestyle and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Controlling your diabetes prevents it from doing serious damage to your feet.
INSPECT YOUR FEET DAILY
What might seem like a minor cut or abrasion can quickly turn into a major infection that can lead to amputation if not treated properly. Use a mirror to look for changes in your feet such as discoloration, blisters or cracked skin. If you see anything unusual, see your foot doctor to rule out serious issues that are developing.
ALWAYS WEAR SHOES
Good quality shoes provide real protection for your feet. Ask your podiatrist for recommended styles and brands that will promote good circulation and prevent blisters. Remember that going barefoot is a risk you can’t afford to take. Even when you’re at the pool or beach, wear a well-made pair of water shoes to protect your feet from scrapes.
KEEP FEET DRY
With your feet inside shoes all the time, moisture can build up. Be sure to prevent fungal growth by keeping your feet dry. Towel them off completely before putting on socks or shoes, giving special attention to the spaces between toes. Change your socks as often as you need to in order to keep feet comfortable and prevent dampness.
GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE
Being active is crucial for diabetics. It helps keep blood sugar levels under control and promotes good circulation in your legs and feet. Add simple workouts to your daily routine, making sure they are low impact so you don’t expose feet to injury risks. Choose athletic shoes that keep feet cool and provide plenty of support.
SKIP TOBACCO AND ALCHOHOL
Both of these habits are hard on your overall health, but they are even riskier for people with diabetes. Smoking has a negative effect on blood circulation. So does alcohol – and the extra sugars in beer, wine and spirits can send blood glucose levels skyrocketing. This can trigger nerve damage in your feet that affects mobility and comfort. They can even lead to the loss of toes or feet over the long term.
PROTECT FEET FROM HEAT
Before your diagnosis, you might not have hesitated to jump into a steaming hot bath or walk barefoot on a sizzling summer sidewalk. Unfortunately, nerve damage may have occurred then – or might happen now if you’re not cautious about heat that can put you at risk for serious burns. Always test heated water in pools and hot tubs with your elbow before getting in, and don’t step onto hot pavement even for a brief second.
PREVENT DRY, CRACKED SKIN
While you want to keep your feet dry, it’s important to keep your skin in good condition so it won’t peel or crack. Have your foot doctor show you how to apply a thin layer of lotion to your skin, massaging it in so the added moisture won’t promote fungal growth. When applying lotion, skip the spaces between your toes, concentrating on your heels and outer edges of toes where skin can dry out first.
QUESTIONS ABOUT DIABETIC FOOT CARE? ASK DR. WACHTEL
A new diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming, but remember that your medical team is with you all the way. As a specialist in diabetic foot care, Dr. Jeffrey Wachtel is happy to answer all your questions and offer techniques for keeping your feet healthy and comfortable year-round.
If you or your loved one needs help with foot pain, sores or other serious issues, call our Lansdale office today.
Every now and then, our feet fall asleep, leaving us with that familiar, pins-and-needles sensation. But if you experience numbness or tingling in your feet on a regular basis, there could be another cause.
Peripheral neuropathy is a serious medical issue that can affect hands as well as feet. Symptoms include:
- Numbness, prickling or tingling that may spread to legs and arms
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, freezing or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Unsteadiness on your feet
- Lack of coordination and falling
Peripheral neuropathy can sometimes affect just one nerve (mononeuropathy). Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of this pattern. Most people experience polyneuropathy, with several nerves in different areas being affected.
AM I AT RISK?
Peripheral neuropathy is linked to several other health factors.
- Diabetes. More than half of all people with diabetes develop some form of neuropathy.
- Medications. Certain medications, especially those used to treat cancer (chemotherapy), can cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Exposure to poisons. Toxic substances such as heavy metals or chemicals can increase your chances of developing peripheral neuropathy.
- Alcohol abuse. Poor dietary choices made by people who drink to excess can lead to vitamin deficiencies, which are linked with neuropathy.
- Autoimmune diseases. These include Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and necrotizing vasculitis.
- Infections. These include certain viral or bacterial infections, including Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis C, leprosy, diphtheria and HIV.
- Trauma or pressure on the nerve. Trauma from car accidents, falls or sports injuries can sever or damage peripheral nerves.
- Tumors. Malignant or benign growths can develop on nerves or press down on nerves.
- Vitamin deficiencies. B vitamins – including B-1, B-6 and B-12 – vitamin E and niacin are crucial to nerve health.
- Other diseases. These include kidney disease, liver disease, connective tissue disorders and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
WHEN TO SEE YOUR PODIATRIST
Peripheral neuropathy can make it difficult for you to stand up from sitting or reclining. The increased risk for falls is a serious concern, so it’s crucial to see your podiatrist right away. Early diagnosis and treatment gives you the best chance to control symptoms and prevent further damage to your nerves.
Peripheral neuropathy can also lead to other problems, such as:
- Burns and skin trauma. You might not sense temperature changes or pain in your feet, putting you at risk for serious foot damage.
- Infection. Not being able to feel changes in your feet also means that small cuts and abrasions can become inflamed without you noticing. Check these areas regularly and treat minor injuries before they become infected, especially if you have diabetes mellitus.
WORRIED ABOUT FOOT PAIN AND OTHER SYMPTOMS? ASK DR. WACHTEL
When it comes to caring for foot problems such as peripheral neuropathy, Dr. Jeffrey Wachtel is your best resource. A seasoned podiatrist serving patients throughout the Lansdale, Pennsylvania area, Dr. Wachtel can answer your questions about foot pain and other symptoms and make sure that serious issues are treated early.
If your feet hurt or you’re struggling with a particular issue, call our Lansdale office now to schedule a convenient appointment.
When I just have to have comfort food, I turn to this vegan caramelized onion dip that tastes just like the original. First you cook the onions in a covered pan over medium heat for about fifteen minutes. Then you stir in the sugar and salt, cooking uncovered and stirring occasionally for between five and ten minutes. Your onions should be caramelized at this point. Don’t skip the sugar, you need it for the caramelizing process. Next, you combine the vegan mayonnaise and silken tofu. This can be done in an immersion blender or food processor. I don’t recommend whisking by hand. Add in all but a spoonful of the caramelized onions. The spoonful can be used as garnish. Lastly, seal it up in an airtight container and pop it in the fridge for a few hours.
- This is a link to a recipe for a vegan, meat free and dairy free caramelized onion dip.
- The vegan cartelized onion dip would be great served with potato chips.
- This recipe is perfect for many occasions including barbecues, hanging out with friends or even snacking alone.
So I’m not eating this dip and imagining the health fairies sprinkling me with magical kale dust.
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Fall 2017 Residential Meal Plans. Students living on campus who have 0 59 Earned Credit Hours will have a choice of one of the following Meal Plans: 5 Day Unlimited Plan with $270 DD (240 or more meals per Semester) $1890 ($6.75 or less per meal). Each meal plan comes with meal swipes to use at our three dining halls and dining dollars to use at one of our various retail locations.The ability to dine at all of the dining locations all across campus gives students a range of menus and offerings. You’ll get guaranteed value, whether you eat on campus three times a week or three times a day! We’ve got you covered. See our Meal Plan options below for more information.
- Pizza Chilli is the Best of Fall 2017 meal Plan favorite with 100% of the votes.
- A simple favorite called Sweet Corn Pasta made the 2017 list behind the Big Mac Potato Soup dish.
- Tuna Nachos and Brownie Batter ONOs are sure to be a hit with the kids.
This is a great time to catch up on the meal plans if you’ve fallen behind
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