SSM Health Medical Minute – How does diabetes affect your feet?

Medical Minute

ST. LOUIS – If you have diabetes, checking your feet every day—even if they feel fine—is critical.

Nerve damage in the feet and legs can affect blood flow, another diabetes complication, and puts you at risk for a foot ulcer that could get infected. Some examples of problems: athlete’s foot, fungal infections of nails, calluses, corns, blisters, bunions, and diabetic ulcers.

There’s a lot to manage if you are diabetic like checking your blood sugar levels, monitoring your diet, and staying active, but checking your feet is also imperative.

About half of all diabetics have some kind of nerve damage or neuropathy, specifically in their feet. Some people may feel numbness, tingling, or pain while others may not have any symptoms.

Following up with your podiatrist or primary doctor when you have issues in your feet that could be cracked or dry skin, thickened or yellow toenails, a blister or sore that won’t heal, an infection, corn, or ingrown toenail are reasons to make an immediate appointment with your doctor.

Dr. Anne Maestas, a podiatrist with SSM Health Medical Group, says to check your feet every day for cuts, redness, swelling, sores, blisters, or any other change to the skin or nails. Use a mirror if you need help seeing the bottom of your feet, or you can ask a family member to help.

Maestas recommends washing your feet every day in warm water and be sure to dry them completely and apply lotion to the top and bottom of your feet. She also recommends not going barefoot to avoid injury.

As for maintaining exercise, Dr. Maestas says walking, riding a bike or swimming are suggested along with shoes that fit well with socks.

To learn more about SSM Health Medical Group, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7pm and FOX 2 News at 9pm.

Medical Minute


Healthcare information, educational topics, and cutting-edge health news happening locally. Sponsored by SSM Health

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