Taking Foot Care Seriously

I recently had an email thru the contact form of my blog. The email started out as, “I am a graduate student doing research on devices for the early detection of diabetic foot ulcers.” He came to my blog thru a message board and asked if it would be possible to speak with me. We made arrangements to speak on the phone yesterday afternoon. Prior to speaking with him, he sent me a list of topics that he wanted to talk about. I am not going to speak about the device that he is working on – I think it is a great idea and I hope that it is able to come to fruition. I don’t want to have someone read my blog and steal his idea (he is actually working with a team).

Kelly Booth FootOne thing that we discussed was basically what the title of this post is – taking foot care seriously. I confess, prior to my very first ulcer, I did not do that. Like many other people, I read all the warnings about taking care of your feet. When I was first diagnosed, I even got rid of my sandals because I was told diabetics shouldn’t wear sandals. Somewhere along the line, I got “careless.” It wasn’t that I didn’t care, because I did. I think it was more the attitude of “that won’t ever happen to me.” I am invincible after all!

When I had my first ulcer, I had some mild neuropathy. I didn’t check my feet every day. I ran around the house and even went outside barefoot. One Friday morning, I was getting ready for work and I noticed a big hole in the bottom of my foot. It wasn’t as big of a hole as “the wound,” but it was a good sized hole. I had gone to a client’s office the day before that had a gravel parking lot so my first thought was that a stone came up thru my shoe. I looked at the shoes I had worn the day before and although there was not a hole in them, there was blood.

I then started looking at all the shoes I had worn that week and everything had blood in them. At the beginning of the week, my cousin and his wife were having a cookout for their daughter’s birthday after work. I took casual clothes with me to change at the office and go to his house from there. The sandals I wore that night also had blood on them. I knew that I had the hole in my foot all week.

That first ulcer took about 6 months to heal. At the time, I did not even have a podiatrist. I went to my PCP who in turn referred me to one. Although I had neuropathy, it was mild and I did have feeling in my feet. I had no clue what caused the hole in my foot.

The weekend before I found it, I was out on my deck in my bare feet. I was waiting on my dog to do his business when my neighbor came out and he decided to go visit her. I had to walk thru the grass to get him. Later that day, I went to visit my cousin in Annapolis and spent the night. The next day, Nicky did the same thing to me – I was standing in the doorway in my bare feet when he decided to take a stroll and I had to go after him.

After thinking and thinking about what could have caused it, I decided that the best bet was Nicky’s choo hooves. He would lay on the floor next to my bed chewing on them. I didn’t remember stepping on it, but I thought that would be something I would step on and just keep on going because I knew what it was. However, I really have no clue what caused it.

Kelly Booth picture of Nicky

After that, I learned to start checking my feet everyday. I know from talking to other people online, most people really don’t take foot care seriously. Like I said, prior to my first ulcer, I didn’t either. When I see people talking and shrugging it off, I will post the link to the pictures of my foot so they can see what a simple case of dry skin turned into and I did the right thing and called my doctor on day one.

What bothers me the most is some doctor’s misconceptions about foot problems. Recently on Facebook, the mother of a Type 1 child said that her endo told her that only “obese Type 2 people with poor circulation” have problems with their feet. I was a thin Type 1 and to this day have good circulation in my feet. I have heard other people think that only Type 2’s have foot problems or only people with poor circulation. I truly don’t believe that I was the exception to rule. Type 1’s with good circulation CAN have foot problems.

Two simple things that you can do are to check your feet every day for signs of problems – do it when you are putting your socks on in the morning. Use a good moisturizer. My nightmare started as dry-cracked skin. I use Elta Swiss Care Moisturizer. Although my pharmacy doesn’t keep it on their shelf, they do order it for me. I lost two years of my life because of that dry skin. Taking 2 minutes out of your day every morning can save you a lifetime of grief.

Elta Swiss Moisturizing Creme

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11 thoughts on “Taking Foot Care Seriously

  1. This reply has nothing to do with your foot post (although I thought it was excellent, while a bit scarey for us diabetics – guess we need that now and then). I actually would be interested in knowing what charity above all others you feel serves us diabetics the most as far as really making a difference. My parents want to leave some money in their will to a charity in my honor considering my 45 years of diabetes. They asked me about the ADA, but I feel that’s more political that real substance helping diabetics live daily with this (intrusive) disease. Can you advise your experience or thoughts on that? What might you answer your parents to such a question?

    • Susan, thank you for asking what charity I would consider! I agree with you about the ADA. Although I do think that they have a good purpose in theory, I do wonder sometimes if their decisions are necessarily in our best interest. Usually when I have a couple bucks to donate, I donate to the Diabetes Hand Foundation – that is the organization started by Manny Hernandez and started TuDiabetes and other programs. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has shifted their goals to 50% making living with this disease easier and 50% towards a cure. The Diabetes Research Institute is working towards developing the most promising research towards a cure. The Islets of Hope raise money for diabetes education and to help provide for people in need of supplies. The International Diabetes Foundation works to promote education along with other things on a worldwide basis.

      I think depending on what your focus is (whether you are geared towards finding a cure or helping make this livable), any of those organizations are good ones to consider. I personally lean towards helping people with education and making our lives better. I have learned so much from the DOC and hate to think what my life would be like today if I had not found help online. I think it would be nice to have a cure so other people that come after us don’t have to deal with this, but realistically, I don’t believe that will happen in my lifetime. We need to be able to have a quality life until a cure happens.

  2. One last post..I am SOOO Happy for you and seeing how -‘back to normal’ your foot looks ..(and how fortunate you are and that u got proper care)–even tho you have been thru the ringer. I just hope that i am as fortunate and my outcome is the same as yours…i have Never seen so many ppl with one leg in my life as now. it’s kinda like ‘WTH’ -what the Hell-is going on!!! have a bad feeling that these ‘doctors’ are having a field day with diabetics.

    • Thanks Joe and you WILL have your victory celebration too. Unfortunately, there are some doctors that do have a field day with diabetics. We have to question everything and get copies of all test results – never take their word for it that an infection is gone. I learned that the hard way and I am sure you have learned a few things the hard way also. I hope that you are not seeing all those people with one leg at your wound center! That is NOT a good sign.

  3. also..i found out that Amazon sells diabetic rubber braceletts for $5 plus $2.50/ship and metal ones selling around $20. So i ordered one for myself so next time i go to the casino they wont accuse me of drinking when its my blood sugar that is outta whack.

    • That is a good idea to have Joe. I just saw in FB recently about another person getting in trouble with police when he was low. The bad part about lows is you can act like a drunk and they don’t know the difference.

  4. well, Kelly, unfortunately i went thru almost exactly what u went thru. Pure HELL. But..just wanted to mention that -on my good foot- i spotted a callus , the size of a nickle below my little toe. have u had any trouble with your other foot? my next drs visit is in 2 weeks. could u walk the Atlantic City board walk if you wanted to? ..(joe)

    • Joe, I know you know but I am going to say it anyway – don’t mess around with the callous!

      I have had a couple minor problems with my other foot. I currently have a small scrape on that foot that I did show my doctor – I am just putting Neosporin on it and watching it carefully.

      Yes, I could probably walk the boardwalk if I wanted to. Prior to my treadmill kicking the dust, I was able to walk over 2 miles on it. I take my dog for strolls when the weather isn’t too bad. I do have trouble walking with the walker on areas that aren’t real flat – like thru the grass. It is not that I can’t, it is just a pain because I have to lift the walker up with each step and manually move it. Depending on how “bumpy” the boardwalk was, that could be an issue with a walker.

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