“Doc, I didn’t wear my shoes.” When a patient comes into our office, the second question (#1 is always “Hello! How are you?”) is “Are you diabetic?” Being aware of a patient’s diabetic status will help guide our treatments for the visit – and ask those other questions that are so important – like have you been wearing shoes at all times, washing and checking your feet daily, and if you are losing sensation at all.
Recently, I had a longstanding diabetic patient come into the office and nonchalantly tell me, “I stepped on something about a week ago. It didn’t hurt.” This sets up several RED FLAGS. First, why did it not hurt the patient? This is usually because of something called peripheral neuropathy which is a very common problem in patients who have diabetes. Basically, the nerves that go to the skin (sensory) do not work when sugars are high (elevated). This leads to a decrease in sensation and patients can no longer FEEL things as sharply as they once could. Here at HFAA, we evaluate a diabetic patient’s neurological status at EVERY visit to look for changes in sensation.
The second reason I become concerned when a diabetic patient tells me that they stepped on something is because, unlike you or me, they may not know or feel anything that may have been ‘left behind’ from whatever he stepped on. In this case, it was a piece of wood from the bed post! This can lead to infection and other complications. In my practice we have seen wood, nails, toothpicks, staples, you name it, embedded in people’s feet! Wearing shoes (comfortable with a strong bottom sole) is imperative to preventing diabetic foot problems. We recommend the following:
Tennis Shoes: Brooks, New Balance, Aetrex
Dress Shoes: Aetrex, Surefit, Dr. Comfort
Slippers: Dr. Comfort
Don’t get caught with your foot out of a shoe! Contact us at Heartland Foot and Ankle with any questions so we can guide you to the right fit, every time! (www.heartlandfootandankle.com) 309-661-9975.