Keeping Your Feet Healthy
Foot care is a major priority for people with diabetes — both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes make a person susceptible to a number of foot-related complications. These can include peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the extremities) and peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation in the feet and legs). As a result, small cuts or nicks in the feet can lead to big problems — including foot ulcers and even amputation — for people with diabetes if not properly cared for. But severe foot problems aren’t an inevitable part of having diabetes; with careful and regular self-care, you can keep your feet in good shape and catch potential problems early. The following books, organizations, and Web sites offer information on keeping your feet healthy, and resources for how to heal them if complications arise.
21 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIABETES AND YOUR FEET
Neil M. Scheffler, DPM, FACFAS
American Diabetes Association
Alexandria, Virginia, 2013
This book, published by the American Diabetes Association, focuses on how to prevent diabetes-related foot problems and how to care for feet that have already been affected by complications or injuries. The book is intended to be a comprehensive overview of foot care information, aimed at explaining parts of foot care that may seem confusing or overwhelming, such as medical terminology and titles of health-care professionals.
YOU CAN COPE WITH NEUROPATHY
365 Tips for Living a Full Life
Mims Cushing and Norman Latov, MD
New York City, 2009
This book is aimed at everyone who has peripheral neuropathy, not just people who developed it as a complication of diabetes, but it does offer some diabetes-specific information. The second chapter is about foot care, and the book’s overall focus is on how neuropathy affects the feet; further chapters explore how to, among other things, travel and exercise with peripheral neuropathy that affects the feet.
TREATING FOOT ULCERS: HOW A WOUND CARE CENTER CAN HELP
Ulcers are one potential foot problem facing people with diabetes; this article on Diabetes Self-Management’s Web site explains how foot ulcers develop and explores the role of wound care centers in healing them. The article covers what to expect when at a wound care center, explains procedures you may undergo, and describes aftercare you’ll need once your ulcer is healed.
DIABETIC FOOT PROBLEMS
The Cleveland Clinic’s page on foot problems of people with diabetes includes information on preventative foot care as well as extensive resources on preparing for and recovering from foot surgery. The Cleveland Clinic’s Web site offers other resources, including a guide on caring for minor foot injuries (http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/diabetes_mellitus/hic_diabetes_and_your_feet.aspx) and a list of common diabetes-related foot problems (http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/diabetes_mellitus/hic_foot_and_skin_related_complications_of_diabetes.aspx).
LIVING WITH DIABETES: FOOT CARE
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) Web site is a great starting point for foot care basics, with recommendations about preventative steps such as starting an exercise program and getting information about prescription footwear.
EXERCISING WITH DIABETES COMPLICATIONS
The Joslin Diabetes Center’s Web site has a number of pages about exercise safety for people with diabetes, including a page specifically about diabetes complications and how best to exercise if you have them. The foot-related conditions covered include peripheral neuropathy, foot ulcers, and Charcot foot (a condition related to neuropathy in which the bone structure of the foot breaks down).
NATIONAL DIABETES INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE (NDIC)
1 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3560
TTY: (866) 569-1162
Fax: (703) 738-4929
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) page about diabetes complications of the feet and skin (www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_feet/) offers basic information on foot and skin care as well as resources to help you find diabetes educators and dietitians in your area to help keep you healthy.
MEDLINEPLUS: DIABETIC FOOT
US National Library of Medicine
The NIH’s MedlinePlus is a library of information about health topics of all kinds, including diabetes. The page “Diabetic Foot” has a number of different resources for foot care, such as an interactive foot care tutorial (available in English and Spanish), the latest research and upcoming clinical trials, glossaries and dictionaries, and downloadable PDFs.
THE NEUROPATHY ASSOCIATION
60 East 42nd Street, Suite 942
New York, NY 10165
The Web site of the Neuropathy Association, dedicated to raising awareness of the condition, also provides support for people who have it. The Resources tab on the home page offers links to help you find a support group in your area (or start one), personal stories and information from people with peripheral neuropathy, and an online store where books and other materials are available for purchase.
VASCULAR DISEASE FOUNDATION
550 M Ritchie Highway
Severna Park, MD 21146
The Vascular Disease Foundation’s (VDF) Web site provides information about a number of vascular conditions, including peripheral arterial disease, under the Education & Prevention tab on the home page. The Resources & Support tab has links to help you find a vascular specialist in your area; the VDF also hosts an online support community.
Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.