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Diabetes affects an estimated 38.4 million people in the U.S. and presents unique challenges to foot health. Proactive care and vigilance are essential to prevent serious complications and maintain healthy feet.

 According to Dr. Chad D. Brady, DPM, FACFAS, a foot and ankle surgeon at Uinta Medical Group “People with diabetes must prioritize foot health due to the heightened risk of serious infections. Diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy, leading to a loss of sensation and making it difficult to notice pain. The disease also reduces blood flow to the feet, complicating healing.”

Identifying Symptoms
Foot and toe ulcers affect approximately 15% of people with diabetes. Early detection and timely intervention are crucial for improving health outcomes. Be vigilant for these symptoms:

  • Calluses
  • Cracks in the heels
  • Leg pain
  • Swelling in the foot and ankle
  • Changes in skin color or temperature
  • Persistent unusual foot odor
  • Slow-healing, open wounds
  • Athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails, or toenail fungus

“If you notice any of these signs,” Dr. Brady explained, “prompt consultation with a healthcare provider is essential. Diabetic foot complications can progress rapidly if not addressed promptly.”

Potential Complications
Diabetic foot complications can be severe and include the following:

  • Skin and Bone Infections: Minor wounds can lead to serious infections, potentially requiring hospitalization and intensive antibiotic treatment.
  • Abscess Formation: Pus around infections can form abscesses, necessitating drainage or surgical intervention.
  • Gangrene: Reduced blood circulation can lead to gangrene, where tissue begins to die, often requiring surgical removal or oxygen therapy.
  • Deformities: Nerve damage can weaken foot muscles, causing deformities such as hammertoes or claw feet.

Preventive Measures
While complications can be serious, most can be avoided with proper foot care:

  • Perform Daily Checks: Examine your feet daily for any abnormalities or changes.
  • Wear the Right Shoes: Proper footwear is crucial. Diabetic shoes help distribute pressure to avoid sores and blisters and often feature a wider toe box to prevent injuries.
  • Maintain Foot Hygiene: Keep feet clean and moisturized, avoiding excessive moisture between toes.
  • Visit the Podiatrist Regularly: Schedule regular check-ups with a podiatrist or healthcare provider specializing in diabetic foot care.
  • Focus on a Healthy Diet: Maintain blood sugar levels within a healthy range through a balanced diet.

“Being aware of the risks and staying vigilant about foot health can make all the difference,” Dr. Brady said. “Individuals with diabetes can effectively manage their foot health and reduce the risk of serious complications.”

If you or a loved one has diabetes, contact Dr. Chad D. Brady, DPM, FACFAS to help maintain foot health. Uinta Medical Group’s team can assist with everyday issues, from recommending diabetic shoes to addressing complications. Schedule an appointment today by calling 307-789-9355 or visiting us online at