At Patrick Fettinger, DPM we know that patients with diabetes have to take extra good care of their feet. Two conditions associated with diabetes—neuropathy and decreased circulation--can prove extremely dangerous for your feet. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can result in loss of sensation in your feet. This means that a cut, injury, blister or rash may go unnoticed initially. These types of problems can progress to a point where they become open wounds and a possible site of infection. Poor circulation can inhibit healing by slowing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the wound, leading to systemic infection and even amputation. That’s why it’s essential to observe extra precautions with your feet to prevent injuries and foot infections.
Below are some tips all patients with diabetes should observe:
Schedule regular checkups with our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger. The foot doctor is your partner in ensuring that your feet stay healthy. By examining your feet periodically, the podiatrist can detect problems in their early stages and monitor chronic foot conditions carefully.
Practice self-exams. In between your podiatrist appointments, it’s imperative that you examine your own feet every day. Look for bruises, cuts, blisters, skin rashes, lumps, swelling, growths or any other unusual changes. These can be signs of a potential issue that could develop into a diabetic ulcer or an infection. If you notice anything concerning, you should immediately contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office.
Keep your feet covered. Always wear shower shoes or flip flops when out in public places like gyms, community pools and, nail salons. This will greatly reduce your risk of contracting a bacterial or fungal infection since these are spread by direct contact. Even at home, you should wear shoes to prevent cuts, puncture wounds and injuries.
Avoid direct heat. Don’t use space heaters, electric blanket or put your feet up in front of the fireplace. Neuropathy may impede your ability to know when it’s too hot and result in burns to the skin.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Choose styles with roomy toe boxes. When toes are squished together for long periods of time ingrown toenails and toe deformities such as bunions and hammertoes are more likely. Always check the insides of your shoes to be sure there is no loose stitching or rough spots that could rub on your foot and cause a blister.
If you have diabetes, we’re part of your healthcare team and will do everything possible to help keep your feet healthy.
As days get cooler and shorter, we at Patrick Fettinger, DPM find that many patients move their fitness regimens indoors to local gyms and health clubs. This leads to a rise in the number of cases of athlete’s foot, warts and fungal toenails that we treat. Communal areas that are warm and moist are the perfect setting for infections to thrive. Below are some tips for keeping up with your workouts without contracting an unwanted skin or nail condition.
- Keep your feet covered. Wear shower shoes or flip-flops in gym locker rooms and showers. This is probably the single, biggest way to prevent fungal and bacterial infections. These types of conditions are spread by direct contact. You walk barefoot on a surface where someone else has deposited fungi or bacteria and you end up with an infection.
- Don’t share. Yes, generally not socially acceptable but when it comes to towels, soap, socks, nail clippers, emery boards and other items that touch someone else’s feet is a must for preventing fungal, viral and bacterial conditions.
- Keep feet dry. Wearing damp socks for hours can create perfect conditions for infections to develop. Closed shoes, warm socks and the heat going on in offices, cars and stores can all increase your risk. If you tend to sweat excessively, carry an extra pair of socks and change them as soon as you feel that they are damp.
- Practice good podiatric hygiene. Simply washing your feet daily with warm soapy water can go a long way to preventing infections. Be sure to dry feet completely, paying attention to the spaces between your toes as this is where athlete’s foot often starts.
Learn to recognize the signs of foot infections in their earliest stages:
- Red skin
- Dry or scaly skin
- Changes in color or texture of toenails
If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger, as soon as possible. Make an appointment at one of our two Connecticut locations: New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357).
Did you know that every 11 seconds an elderly person is seen in the emergency room for a fall related injury? In September we acknowledge Fall Prevention Awareness Day. At Patrick Fettinger, DPM, we know that the health and welfare of your feet can play a big role in preventing dangerous falls. Below are five ways to ensure that you and the older adults in your life do all that they can to minimize their fall risk.
- Get Foot Problems Checked Out Promptly—When your feet hurt, you change the way you walk to avoid the pain. This, in turn, throws off your balance and can cause you to fall. Don’t put off getting pain, numbness, fatigue and other uncomfortable lower extremity symptoms evaluated by our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger. Make an appointment at our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office so the foot doctor can determine the source of your symptoms and prescribe the correct treatment to alleviate foot pain.
- Buy Quality Shoes that Fit Properly—Shoes have a lifespan. Stretched out material, tears around the toes and worn-down treads are tripping hazards. Invest in shoes that are well-made and be sure to get your feet professionally measured. Shoe size can change as you get older. Shoes that are too small or too big can both cause a fall.
- Don’t Miss an Eye Appointment—Getting your eyes checked regularly and making sure your eyeglass prescription is current will go a long way to making sure you clearly see the path and objects in front of you. Changes in peripheral vision and depth of field can make it difficult to properly judge stairs and other differences in elevation.
- Review Medications Regularly—Certain medications may interact with one another in a way that can make you feel dizzy, light-headed or drowsy. This increases your risk of falling. Be sure to go over your complete medication list with one of your doctors or your pharmacist.
- Fall-Proof Your Home—remove tripping hazards from pathways in your home. This would include electrical cords, magazine racks, stacks of papers and planters. Install grab rails in the shower and near the toilet. Make sure there is adequate lighting inside and outside your home.
If you are a senior citizen or someone who cares for an older person and have questions about podiatric health issues, contact us today.
It’s summertime and living is easy but at Patrick Fettinger, DPM, one area where less is really not better is when it comes to summer shoes. Many patient’s footwear of choice during the summer season are flip-flops. This style of shoe has only one good use and that is to protect your feet from viral, bacterial and fungal infections that can be picked up by direct contact at community pools and changing areas/restrooms at beaches and lakes. The minimal construction of traditional flip-flops leaves your feet open to several potential problems, including increased risk for:
When choosing summer shoe styles, look for these design features:
Arch Support—after wearing flat shoes for a long duration you are likely to notice that your arch and your heels are hurting. That’s because the plantar fascia—a long band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from heel to toes—becomes inflamed if you have no arch support. This is the cause of a common condition known as plantar fasciitis.
Molded Footbeds—these will help keep your feet firmly in place in the shoe. Less movement means reduced risk of friction that can cause blisters and also protection against ankle sprains and injuries.
Breathable materials—good air circulation around your feet reduces the risk of bacteria mixing with sweat and producing a bad odor. Keeping feet dry will also help prevent fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
Cushioned insole—a layer of cushioning between your foot and the sole of the shoe will act as a shock absorber. This not only makes shoes feel more comfortable with every step but also reduces the stress of repetitive pounding on your foot, decreasing the likelihood of foot pain and discomfort.
Back strap—a strap around the back of your foot, while not a necessity if the rest of the shoe is properly made, will increase stability and further reduce the chance for injury.
Improper footwear is one of the top causes of foot pain and chronic podiatric problems. If you are experiencing pain in your feet or ankles, make an appointment at our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger can examine your feet and determine the source and proper treatment of your foot discomfort.
Summer is a time when many people go on vacation and we at Patrick Fettinger, DPM LLC want all of our patients to enjoy this time of rest and relaxation. A foot injury or flare-up of a chronic podiatric condition can definitely disrupt your vacation. Below are some tips for avoiding foot problems when you travel.
Off to a Good Start—if you’re flying to your vacation destination be sure to wear comfortable shoes and socks to the airport. Getting to your gate and making connections can require a significant amount of walking (or running!). Trying to catch your flight in high heels may result in an ankle sprain. Wearing socks will help protect your feet from fungal infections if you are in an airport that requires you to take off your shoes during security checks. If your flight is long, you may want to consider compression stockings to improve circulation and prevent blood clots forming in your legs.
Choosing a Shoe Wardrobe—be sure to have at least two pairs of shoes with you so you can switch off if one pair begins to hurt your feet. It’s best to avoid bringing brand new shoes as they can be stiff and cause blisters. If there’s a possibility that your vacation will involve hiking or other physical activities, bring the appropriate footwear.
Stretch It Out—whatever mode of transportation you are taking to get to your vacation, be sure to take breaks to stand, walk and stretch. This will help maintain good circulation and prevent cramps and muscle pain from being in one position for too long.
Pack Foot Essentials—there are a few items you should add to your suitcase that won’t take up much space but could have a big impact on the comfort and health of your feet. These include:
- Moleskin to apply to any spot that feels sore to help prevent blisters from forming
- Anti-fungal cream or powder to help avoid athlete’s foot and fungal toenails. This is particularly important if you are staying at a resort or hotel with a pool.
- Small first aid kit—some saline (eye solution), a small tube of antibiotic cream and a few bandages or some gauze will be useful to have if you get a scrape or minor cut. If you sustain a puncture wound or more serious injury, it’s important to seek medical help promptly.
If you are in any pain or discomfort when you return from your vacation, make an appointment at our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger can examine your feet and determine if any treatment is needed.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.