Sugar Matters
March 19, 2010
Diabetic Foot Care – Commandment #1


This is one that practically everybody knows, BUT THEY STILL DO NOT DO IT!!! Come on, you know it is true. Before you argue, I need to explain further what I mean by LOOKING at your feet. This is not a passing glance after your bath or taking off your shoes, neither should it only happen when your foot hurts. Let me describe what I mean by really looking at your feet.{{more}}

EVERY DAY, at least once a day, you should do the following:

1) Look at the tops of your feet and your leg heading down to your ankles. Do you see anything different from the day before? Any cuts, bruises, sores, and blisters? Do you see any loss of hair? Do you see swelling? Do the bones, shape of your toes or feet look different overall?

2) Feel your lower legs and feet: do you feel anything unusual, including bumps, cuts, things stuck in the skin?

3) Look at your heels: are they cracked, discolored/red, or bruised?

4) Look at your toes and toenails-this is a two-part deal.

First the toe nails: are they thick, broken or cracked, coming off, smelly, green/brown/black, are they cutting into the toe next to them? If you see thick toenails that are a strange color, that may be a fungus growing and will need treatment.

Second the toes: do they have corns, blisters, and bunions, change in shape, a strange smell, sores, ulcers? Look between the toes carefully: if you see whitish goopy stuff, know that it is probably fungus growing between the toes. If your toe is black or green, it may be a dying toe (gangrene) and you need to get to a doctor right away. If you see corns, DO NOT TAKE THEM OFF ON YOUR OWN. Please have a doctor remove them safely.

5) Look UNDER your feet: this is the most ignored part of the foot exam, by far. For many people, including those who are older or overweight, turning your foot over to look underneath can be very difficult. That means the underside of the foot, which is most vulnerable to injury, is often missed. If you can turn your foot over to look, be sure to examine it for any breaks in the skin, sores/ulcers, things stuck in your feet (I have seen people come in with safety pins stuck in their feet that they never felt), and any strange smells.

If you are unable to turn your feet over, then you need the mirror trick. Get a small mirror and place it on the floor. Sit down and hold your foot over the mirror. Move your foot around so that you can see the whole underside through the reflection in the mirror.

All of this may sound like it will take an hour but in truth when it becomes habit all it takes is probably a good careful five minutes. And those five minutes could one day save your foot, or even your life, if you spot an infection before it can become serious.

Onwards we go! Commandments continue next week! Stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
[email protected]
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227