Not everyone looks at a checklist the same way. If you’re an organized person who loves to cross off or mark down to-dos, a checklist is great for keeping things in order. If you’re a less-than-organized person, you’re probably not thrilled when you see a whole line of must-dos waiting for you. No matter how you feel about lists, having directions can be helpful, especially for something as serious as a self-exam for diabetic feet. It’s a good idea to create your own list so you remember all the important aspects of daily diabetic foot care.
Diabetes has a huge impact in your lower limb health. It impairs your immune system and nerves and increases your risk for infections and foot ulcers. The threat of painful and possibly permanent issues is big. That’s why you can’t wait for problems to develop before taking care of your diabetic feet. You have to examine your lower limbs every single day.
That’s why a list of what to look for in a self-exam can be so helpful, even if you don’t usually like checklists. If you know what is normal and what needs prompt treatment, you can prevent serious problems from getting out of control. Here are a few of the things you need to watch for:
- Skin changes – Look for discoloration, bruises, dryness, peeling or cracking, callus or corn build-up, or patches on your lower legs where hair seems to be missing.
- Sores and skin breaks – Watch for blisters, small cuts, scrapes, punctures, or obvious sores. These all break down easily, so get immediate help for these problems.
- Nail changes – Nail distortions and discolorations might be an infection. A detaching or ingrowing nail can create other issues, as well as causing pain.
- Temperature changes – Cool or warm patches on the skin signal circulatory issues that need treatment.
- Swelling or strange bumps – Swelling, lumps, and bumps could all be signs of very serious complications, even if you don’t feel any or much discomfort.
The more thorough your self-exam, the more you’re able to help your diabetic feet. Even if you don’t like checklists, keep reminders for yourself of what to look and feel for so you always stay on top of your foot care. Then contact North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute if you have any problems. Call (512) 593-2949 for our Cedar Park office, or (512) 960-4290 for the one in Round Rock.