Diabetes affects your health in many ways; keeping your condition in check can sometimes feel like a full-time job! Believe it or not, diabetes has even an effect on the health of your feet. Once you know how to properly manage this part of diabetes, however, you'll find that it isn't difficult or time-consuming. Dr. Jade Gittens, your podiatrist in Somerset, NJ, answers common questions and offers some tips here for her diabetic patients at Premier Foot & Ankle Center.
How does diabetes affect my feet?
Diabetes is a systemic condition that can be detrimental to your overall health without proper management. With regards to the feet, diabetes slows down the circulation of the blood. Since the feet are distanced from the heart, their blood flow becomes particularly compromised. Diabetes can also cause neuropathy, a nerve disorder that prevents people from feeling normal pain. These two complications of diabetes make injuries to the feet more serious than normal because your Somerset podiatrist's patients may not even know they've injured themselves until the wound, which isn't getting the proper blood flow necessary for healing, has become infected and difficult to treat.
How can I take care of my feet when I'm diabetic?
Dr. Gittens, your Somerset podiatrist, recommends taking these precautions to all her diabetic patients:
- Stay protected. Don't walk around barefoot, even inside your house. Wear comfortable but firm slippers and never wear open-toed shoes, especially outdoors.
- Keep clean. Make sure you wash your feet with mild soap and warm water every day. Take time after cleaning to inspect your feet, especially between the toes and on the soles, for any signs of injury. A hand-held mirror can assist you.
- Trim carefully. Trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrowth and always use clean instruments. Your Somerset, NJ podiatrist can show you the proper technique if you're unsure.
If you're diabetic, any injury to the feet, no matter how minor, should be reported to Dr. Gittens at Premier Foot & Ankle Center in Somerset, NJ. Preventing foot wounds is key to proper diabetes care. For more information, contact our office for an appointment!
The summertime is a great time to show off your new sandals and allow your feet to breathe. But since the warmer months can be rough on your feet, it's important to give your feet a little extra care to keep them looking great and feeling healthy. Here are a few tips for keeping your feet in tip-top shape during the summer.
Keep feet clean
The best line of defense against fungal infections is proper hygiene and regular inspection of the feet and toes. Wash feet with soap and water daily, and dry them thoroughly to prevent infection. Wear shower shoes in public places, like pools and locker rooms. And to prevent ingrown nails and toenail fungus, keep toenails trimmed straight across.
Avoid walking barefoot
Walking outside in the summertime without shoes increases the risk of injury and infection. You never know what’s sitting out on the beach, and the last thing you want is to unexpectedly step on a sharp rock or piece of debris and cut your foot.
Protect feet from the sun
Wearing sunscreen is extremely important in the summertime - and that means lathering up the exposed skin on your feet and ankles too. If you’re a habitual sandals wearer, make sure to put sunscreen on before putting your feet in your shoes!
Keep your feet fungus free
Coupled with good foot hygiene, you can also prevent toenail fungus by alternating your shoes. If you suspect a fungus infected nail, visit us right away for early treatment.
Treat your feet to a pedicure
Eliminate rough, dead, winter skin and improve the appearance of your toenails with a pedicure. Do it yourself, or pamper yourself with a professional pedicure for attractive summer feet you'll be proud to show off.
The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends getting your pedicure in the morning, when salon foot baths are at their cleanest. Don’t shave your legs prior to your pedicure, even if you’re tempted to! When your legs are freshly shaven, they can have small cuts that allow bacteria to enter. Also, ensure you or the person performing your pedicure does not cut your cuticles, because they are your nail’s barrier to infection.
After the pedicure, don’t leave nail polish on all summer long. Remove it periodically to allow your nail bed to breathe, and then you’re free to swap to another festive summer color!
Prevent painful blisters
Sandals and flip-flops can lead to irritating blisters when they rub against your bare skin. Use padding or bandages to prevent and reduce friction.
Examine your flip flops
Flip flops are great for allowing your feet to breathe all summer long, but thong sandals can result in sore feet and ankles due to their lack of support. Choose styles with arch and heel support to keep feet healthy and pain-free.
Following these easy steps during the summer months can go a long way in keeping your feet looking and feeling their very best. Inspect your feet daily, and if you encounter any unusual foot problems or experience pain, contact our office for a thorough evaluation.
With age, many people experience changes in their feet. This may include a change in their shape, a loss of the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of the feet, thinner, drier skin, and brittle nails. You may even develop arthritis.
As the feet change, they naturally develop more problems. But aching feet are not a natural part of growing old, or something to be tolerated. You can do many things now to help relieve pain, improve comfort and keep the spring in your step.
Taking good care of your feet has many benefits, including increasing your comfort, limiting the possibility of additional health issues, and keeping you active and mobile. The following tips can help keep feet feeling and looking their best into the golden years:
- Choose proper-fitting shoes with adequate support, a firm sole and a soft upper for your everyday activities.
- Walk—it’s the best exercise for your feet.
- Avoid going barefoot.
- Never cut corns or calluses on your own.
- Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water with a mild soap.
- Moisturize daily.
- Trim and file toenails straight across.
- Inspect your feet daily. If you notice redness, cracks in the skin or strange sores, consult our office.
- Have your feet examined at least once a year.
There are literally hundreds of different foot ailments. Some are inherited, but for older people most foot conditions stem from the impact of years of wear and tear. The good news is that even among people in their retirement years, many foot problems can be treated successfully.
Never ignore the natural changes that aging brings. Since feet are referred to as the “mirror of health,” podiatrists are often the first to identify signs of systemic diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. Regular visits can help prevent foot problems and alleviate pain to keep you active for life.
Looking for a safe, easy and inexpensive way to stay healthy, increase your energy level and improve your figure? Start walking! Walking is one of the easiest and most popular forms of exercise, and, when done properly, it can significantly improve your health.
The most basic kind of walking for exercise, often called healthwalking, can be done almost anywhere and at any time, year around. And for individuals with a long history of inactivity or problems with obesity, walking is an excellent way to begin an exercise program.
If the Shoe Fits - Get Walking!
Footwear plays a vital role in the duration of your walking routine, and shoes that don't fit properly or that lack support can lead to foot pain or injuries, such as blisters, corns, calluses, nail fungus and plantar fasciitis. These problems can, in turn, discourage you from exercising, thus achieving the opposite of what you wanted!
Not sure which shoe will offer you the most support? Come into our office for an examination. We can help determine the best shoe for your feet based on your arch, walking experience and foot mechanics. Your shoes should be well-cushioned and stable, offering you comfort and fit that enables you to walk smoothly and without discomfort.
Keep Your Feet Healthy
To gain the most health benefit from walking, it's important to pay close attention to your feet. Trim your nails regularly, keep your feet clean and dry, and inspect your feet for signs of sores, blisters, corns, calluses or other infections. Serious foot ailments, such as bunions or hammertoes, should be checked by our office before you begin your exercise regimen.
Once you're ready to hit the road, set appropriate goals based on your overall health and walking experience. Start slow and build up your distance gradually. And don't forget to stretch in order to prevent injury and keep muscles loose.
Walking is meant to be safe, easy, and fun, but in order to do so, you must have healthy feet. Experiencing foot pain and discomfort isn't normal. Talk with a podiatrist if you encounter any problems while walking.
Every step you take is one step closer to a healthier lifestyle. So what are you waiting for? Take a stroll in the mall, walk your dog in the park, or grab a friend and go for a leisurely walk around your neighborhood. It's easy and fun, and, when done regularly, can lead to a healthier you!
Your left foot really aches. You see a bump on the side, right at the base of the big toe. You notice that when you stand or walk a lot during the day, the pain increases. What could be happening? Visit Premier Foot & Ankle Center for an accurate diagnosis and correction of your problem. Your Somerset, NJ, podiatrist, Dr. Jade Gittens, treats a wide array of issues related to the lower extremities. If she suspects your foot problem is a bunion, you'll receive proper care to relieve your pain and normalize your mobility.
The details on bunions
A bunion is a bony bump that forms when the big toe moves toward the second or even third toe because of pressure from:
- Being overweight
- Shoes that are too tight and too narrow in the toe box
- Standing on hard floors for long periods of time
The Harvard Medical School says that older women (56 and up) are prone to bunion formation. Additionally, while bunions themselves are not inherited, the foot anatomy that helps create this deformity runs in families.
Left untreated, bunions cause disability and an inactive lifestyle because sufferers limit their activities to try to avoid the pain. Corns and calluses often form as does excessively thickened skin on the bottom of the foot. Hammertoes and other foot deformities occur when the patient does not address his or her bunion.
Your Somerset podiatrist performs a complete exam when she suspects a patient has a bunion. Dr. Gittens visually inspects the foot, takes X-rays and other kinds of diagnostic imaging if needed. Then, she may advise one or more of the following treatments:
- Stretching exercises
- A change in footwear (to shoes that support the foot well and have adequate room in the toe box)
- Removal of corns and calluses
- Padding within the shoes to alleviate pressure points
- Splints are worn at night to correct joint deformity
- Bunionectomy surgery
- Orthotics, or custom-made shoe inserts which support and stabilize how a person walks
You can be treated
If you are having bunion symptoms, please contact Premier Foot & Ankle Center for an appointment. Bunions are very common, and you can get the relief you deserve. Call (732) 412-1282 today.
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