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Dr. Nirenberg treats a diabetic foot

Although it is becoming so widespread that many Americans are taking it for granted, there is ample medical evidence to prove that diabetes is a very serious and potentially deadly disease which is affecting one out of every twenty people… and the number is rising daily. Diabetes is no laughing matter as our lifestyle which is increasingly centered on consuming massive quantities of empty calories while sitting on our ever-expanding netherregions is not-so-slowly killing us.

Foot care is required in Type 1 & 2 Diabetes

I was recently interviewed for an article in Northwest Indiana’s The Times newspaper entitled Importance Of Foot Care For Diabetics: Regular Checks Are Vital For Healthy Living, where I discussed the necessity for all diabetics to take meticulous care of their feet.

Diabetes is classified into two types:

  • Type 1: This is the diabetes that is generally inherited and surfaces at an early age. Most sufferers of Type 1 diabetes require continual insulin injections and there is no practical cure.
  • Type 2: This is the diabetes that is developed in adult life, almost always in part from overeating and making poor food choices. This diabetes type can be  delayed or in some cases, reversed through weight loss and proper diet.

Diabetes disrupts blood flow through your body

Diabetics suffer from disruption of their circulation system which affects many parts of the body such as the kidneys and eyes, and in many cases the foot. About one quarter of all diabetics will develop problems with their feet, primarily through diabetic neuropathy which can cause severe numbness to the point where the patient will no longer be able to feel heat, cold, or pain. In my practice I have actually pulled out sharp objects from the feet of diabetics which they didn’t even know were there! Unless you’re a professional firewalker or a fakir who walks on a bed of nails, the last thing you want is to have your feet this immune to pain!

Tips to avoid diabetic foot problems

The best way to ensure that you don’t have problems with your feet is to adhere religiously to the treatment regimen administered by your physician to keep your blood sugar levels within acceptable parameters, maintain a healthy low fat diet, and it’s also a good idea to follow these tips:

  • Don’t cross your legs for extended periods of time
  • Keep your feet away from extreme cold or hot conditions
  • Don’t wear socks or garters which restrict your legs to the point where blood flow to your feet is minimized
  • Use a quality moisturizer to avoid the skin on your foot from drying out and cracking
  • Switch up your exercise routine to activities that are fairly gentle on your feet, such as swimming or prone exercises
  • If you’re smoking stop now

Check your feet daily with a mirror

Furthermore, it is a good practice for diabetics to check their feet once a day with a mirror to ensure that there aren’t any cuts, sores, blisters, or bruises that they could not ordinarily see (previously I reported on a scale that has a mirror built in so you can see your feet and your weight). You spend a considerable amount of time in front of the mirror making sure that your hair is “just so” and that nasty forehead zit doesn’t make you look like a Cyclops, so you can certainly spend 30 seconds a day checking your feet for problems that might turn you into a modern day version of peg leg Captain Ahab. At the first sign of problems “run don’t walk” to your nearest podiatrist to have your feet checked and treated before the new, small problem turns into a crisis which may require an amputation! Your feet are precious and you need both of them, so don’t jeopardize their health… or very existence!

  • Tucker Goodrich

    “…maintain a healthy low fat diet…”

    A low-fat diet is the least healthy diet for a diabetic, because it means you are eating lots and lots of carbohydrates.  By definition, it’s impossible for a diabetic to keep blood sugar low on a high-carb diet.  The scientific evidence, while just emerging, is pretty clear. Here’s a taste from the popular media:

    Other than that, love your sight and keep up the good work!