It is common for people with diabetes to have foot problems. It is scarier when you think of losing a foot, toe, or leg especially when you know someone who has lost any limps to diabetes complications. However, with diabetic foot care, managing your glucose levels, and regular visits to a podiatrist for diabetics, chances of experiencing diabetic foot problems are reduced. Half of the diabetic patients experience nerve damage, mostly happening in their legs and feet.
How can diabetes affect the feet?
Over time diabetes causes diabetic neuropathy, which is the loss of feeling in the feet. It causes pain and tingling that makes you lose feeling in the feet. It could lead to having a blister on your foot, feeling a pebble inside your sock, cuts, and a diabetic foot ulcer. Rarely the nerve damage leads to changes in the shape of the foot. For example, Charcot's foot starts with redness, swelling, and warmth. Later you might have a rocker bottom caused by the breaking or shifting of the bones in the toes and feet, giving your foot an odd shape.
Risk factors to developing nerve damage on your feet
- If you are finding it hard to manage blood sugar levels.
- When you have had diabetes for a long time and most of the time the blood sugar is higher than expected.
- When you are more than forty years old.
- Have high cholesterol.
- Being overweight.
- Have high blood pressure.
With diabetes, you have a low amount of blood flow to the feet, making it hard for the body to heal quickly, which leads to long-term infections.
The infections might lead to gangrene and foot ulcers which might not respond to treatments. It might cause the foot doctor to perform an amputation to prevent the spreading of the infection to the rest of the body.
Diabetic foot issues can be very uncomfortable to live with, if you are experiencing pain with your diabetic foot ulcer or wound, contact the podiatrist at DeNiel Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet. To avoid serious complications that could lead to losing your leg, toe, or foot; follow these simple guidelines to ensure you take proper care of your feet.
- Inspect your feet daily for swelling, blisters, cuts, or nail problems. Use a hand mirror to check the bottom of your feet; in case you notice anything, book an appointment with the foot doctor immediately.
- Ensure you wash your feet in lukewarm water daily, using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by patting or blotting avoid rubbing.
- Keep your feet well moisturized but avoid in between the toes as this could encourage fungal growth. Moisturizing keeps the dry skin from cracking and itching.
- Trim the nails carefully. Cut straight across and file the edges or possibly visit a diabetic foot care clinic to take care of your nails.
- Wear socks specially made for diabetes patients because they have extra cushions and are made from fibers that wick away moisture from the skin. They should always be clean and dry.
- Keep the feet warm and dry always, during night time wear socks but avoid using a hot water bottle or a heating pad to avoid getting burnt.
- Shake your shoes out before wearing them. Due to low circulation, the feet may not feel a pebble or a foreign object that could damage your feet upon wearing the shoes.
- Never walk barefoot to avoid the risk of getting hurt without noticing.