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Diabetic foot care

Taking care of your feet is important for diabetics

One-fourth, or 4 million, of the 16 million Americans with diabetes will develop foot problems related to the disease. Left untreated, even common foot ailments can result in complications for the diabetic patient. At the first sign of any ailment, check with your physician or a podiatrist to stomp out a potentially serious condition.

Diabetics are often at risk for nerve damage, with damage in the nerves of the feet and legs being known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. With loss of feeling because of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, diabetics may not be aware of a foot injury. The nerve damage can also lead to other changes in the feet of a diabetic, including deformities. Visit with a podiatrist about ways to protect your feet as part of your diabetic healthcare.

Foot ulcers or sores are another common condition among diabetics. Even a small ulcer on the foot of a diabetic is cause for concern. An infected ulcer might lead to amputation.

Other common conditions that poser higher risks for diabetics include dry skin, calluses, corns, plantar warts and poor circulation.

As a diabetic, you'll need to stay on your toes to stay healthy — keep your condition in check and maintain daily foot care. Your daily foot care regimen should include checking your feet thoroughly for any changes, washing them in warm water, keeping the skin moisturized and protecting your feet with socks and good-fitting shoes.