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Tips for Diabetic Foot Care

by AOFAS | Nov 10, 2020

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons offer guidance in honor of National Diabetes Month

Rosemont, Ill. (November 10, 2020) – November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to the disease that affects more than 34 million people in the United States. Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons, who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries, diseases, and other conditions of the foot and ankle, explain why people with diabetes are at risk for developing severe foot problems and how patients can  prevent these issues.

“The main reason patients with diabetes are at risk for foot and ankle problems is that the elevated glucose (sugar) levels can affect the nerves,” said foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon, Adam P. Schiff, MD, from Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois. “When this happens, patients can sustain small injuries that they may not feel. That injury can progress into a complicated problem like an ulcer or an infection.” Diabetes may also impact the patient’s ability to heal from injuries.

Michael S. Pinzur, MD, also from Loyola University Medical Center, adds that about one in four diabetic patients experience this loss of feeling, also called neuropathy. Patients with neuropathy should be examined by a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon every 1-2 months.

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons offer these tips for diabetic foot care:

1. Manage blood sugar and maintain a healthy body weight

Dr. Pinzur explains that diabetic patients should work closely with their primary care physicians or endocrinologists to monitor their blood sugar and weight. Obese patients put more pressure on their feet, which increases their risk for developing foot wounds and fractures.

Low levels of calcium and Vitamin D may make you more prone to stress fractures in the foot. Incorporating calcium-rich foods such as dairy products and green leafy vegetables into your diet can keep your bones healthy and strong.

2. Inspect your feet daily

When examining your feet, check for changes in appearance, such as swelling, skin discoloration, puncture wounds, bruises, or cuts. Check that the sensation in your feet is equal in all parts and there is no pain. There are five major locations on the bottom of each foot to check: the tip of the big toe, where the toes join the foot, the heel, the outside edge of the foot, and across the ball of the foot.

3. Invest in proper footwear

When shopping for new shoes, try them on later in the day when your feet are larger and make sure they fit properly. Avoid shoes with pointed toes, high heels, sandals, and flip-flops.

People at risk for developing diabetic foot conditions may consider special shoes that have stiff soles and relieve pressure on the foot. Dr. Pinzur notes that Medicare and most insurance companies comply with the Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Bill of 1993 that offers protective footwear for diabetic patients at little or no cost.

4. Take care of your feet

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons offer everyday tips to help diabetics keep their feet healthy including washing feet with mild soap and water, trimming toenails straight across, and avoiding heating pads and antiseptic solutions.

To learn more about foot problems affecting diabetics, visit FootCareMD.

About Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeons

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Their education and training consist of four years of medical school, five years of postgraduate residency, and a fellowship year of specialized surgical training. These specialists care for patients of all ages, performing reconstructive surgery for deformities and arthritis, treating sports injuries, and managing foot and ankle trauma.

About the AOFAS

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) mobilizes our dynamic community of foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to improve patient care through education, research, and advocacy. As the premier global organization for foot and ankle care, AOFAS delivers exceptional events and resources for continuous education, funds and promotes innovative research, and broadens patient understanding of foot and ankle conditions and treatments. By emphasizing collaboration and excellence, AOFAS inspires ever-increasing levels of professional performance leading to improved patient outcomes. For more information visit the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society online at



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