Dr. Toback specializes in diabetic foot care and has recently become an authorized provider in the Diabetic Shoe Program (see Important Diabetic Update).
It is vital that all diabetic patients be committed to taking care of their feet properly. Diabetics are always at risk for developing foot ulcers and infections, which, if left untreated, lead to gangrene. Common ailments, such as corns, calluses and ingrown toenails can become a very serious and threatening conditions for a diabetic. Hospitalization is a frequent occurrence and in some cases, amputation of the foot or leg is required.
Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Nerve Damage
Diabetics suffer from 2 major foot problems, Nerve Damage (Peripheral Neuropathy) and the Loss of Circulation (Angiopathy).
Diabetics suffer from an abnormal rise of the body’s blood sugar (glucose) level and lack the sufficient levels of insulin to metabolize the blood sugar. Consequently, the blood sugar enters the nerve tissue, damaging the nerve, and causing the protective nerve sensors to become dulled and non-responsive. The ability to distinguish between hot and cold and dull and sharp, as well as the ability to feel pain and pressure, becomes increasingly difficult, causing potentially dangerous and undetected injuries for a diabetic. The risks of developing ulcers and infections are significantly increased. Although the damage to the nerve is permanent, the progression of the condition can be stabilized by maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Diabetics should adhere to a special diet and monitor insulin therapy regularly. Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum as ethanol, a component of alcoholic beverages, is toxic to nerve tissue.
Loss of Circulation
Poor circulation inhibits the body’s ability to allow adequate blood flow to vital body parts. Blood carries the necessary oxygen and nutrients necessary to aid in the body’s healing processes as well as keeping those body parts active and healthy. Poor circulation to the feet and legs prolongs the healing of cuts and sores, greatly increasing the risks for diabetics to contract gangrene and /or suffer the loss of a limb.
HELPFUL DIABETIC FOOT CARE TIPS
*Examine your feet Daily – especially between toes and the bottoms of feet
- Swelling, Redness, and Blisters
- Cuts, Scrapes, and Bleeding
- Toenail Problems, including proper length and fungus
- Pus or drainage between toes or from toenails
- Contact your podiatrist immediately if any of the above mentioned are present. Keep feet clean and dry. Always dry between your toes. Use lotion on dry skin areas.
*Examine Shoes before Wearing /Selecting Proper Shoe Wear
- Foreign objects that can pierce the skin
- Uneven seams or cracks that may rub and cause skin irritations
- Proper sizing – shoes should never fit tightly, especially the toe box
- Redness or swelling upon wearing new shoes – discontinue wear
- Eligibility in diabetic shoe programs-you may be covered by your insurance
*See Your Podiatrist Regularly
Seek treatment as soon as you detect a foot problem
Don’t miss regularly scheduled appointments – prevention is vital
Tell your podiatrist about any abnormal or sensitive foot sensations or pain
*Never Walk Barefoot – cuts, blisters and splinters can easily develop into infectious ulcers
*Never Wear Tight Shoes or Tight Socks – pressure may cause blisters or swelling
*Never Use Heat or Heating Pad – a patient with neuropathy can be seriously burned
*Never Soak Feet in Hot Water – lukewarm water is safest
*Never Smoke – smoking reduces blood circulation to the feet
*Never Use Chemicals or corn/callus pads on corns and calluses – causes serious harm to skin
*Never Use Sharp Instruments to Trim Nails or Calluses – cuts can lead to infection
*Never Cut Toenails Into the Corners – cutting into the corners can cause ingrown toenails
MEDICARE DIABETIC SHOE PROGRAM
Do you or someone you know have diabetes? If you are a diabetic, you may be at risk of developing serious foot infections and ulcers that often lead to amputation. In 1996, doctors performed more than 86,000 diabetic amputations. What you may not know is nearly 80% of life altering amputations could have been prevented.
For diabetes, as well as other foot problems, preventive foot care can significantly reduce the risk of complications. Medicare recognizes the importance of preventive foot care. Dr. Toback is now an authorized provider of the Medicare Diabetic Shoe Program. If you are a diabetic and covered by Medicare, you may be eligible to receive one pair of high quality shoes and three pairs of removable, protective shoe inserts each calendar year. If you qualify for these important products and have supplemental insurance, the balance may be covered, resulting in no out-of-pocket cost to you.
At Toback Podiatry, qualified diabetic patients will be fitted for shoes and inserts using foam impressions. No more messy plaster molds and time constraints! Several different shoe styles are available to accommodate your personal preference.
Toback Podiatry has recently added this valuable service to our practice so that we can provide the most comprehensive foot care to our patients. Do not delay. Please schedule a foot exam today so we may evaluate your eligibility for this important benefit.