07 Mar Diabetic Foot Care Tips
Diabetes and Foot Problems
If you have diabetes, ordinary foot problems can be extraordinarily serious. You need to take extra care of your feet so that you don’t develop diabetic neuropathy and other dangerous foot problems.
What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
This is the most serious complication you can develop from diabetes. Neuropathy is the result of your blood vessels being exposed to high levels of blood sugar. Scientists aren’t sure why, but they know that this weakens the blood vessels and the nerve endings, making it difficult for them to transport blood and transmit signals.
Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy usually affects the feet and legs before spreading to other parts of the body. Be alert to the following symptoms and contact a podiatrist as soon as possible if you experience them.
- Sudden sharp pain or cramping in your feet or ankles
- Feeling unbalanced and uncoordinated
- An intense tingling or burning sensation
- Lack of feeling when your feet are exposed to heat or cold
- Open sores that seem slow to heal
Complications of Diabetic Neuropathy
If you don’t control your high blood sugar, your neuropathy can lead to severe complications. These include:
- Charcot joint: This refers to a condition in which a toe or other joint becomes swollen and loses feeling.
- Low blood pressure: Neuropathy can cause your blood pressure to drop dangerously low, making you dizzy when you stand from a sitting or kneeling position.
- Peripheral vascular disease: This circulation disorder is common among people with diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar. It causes cuts in the feet or lower limbs to develop serious infections called diabetic ulcers.
- Loss of foot or toe: In extreme cases, loss of circulation can lead to infections or diabetic ulcers that won’t go away, even with intensive antibiotic treatment. In those cases, the ulcers will turn gangrenous and the affected limb will have to be amputated.
Common Foot Problems Cause Uncommon Problems for Diabetics
All of the following conditions are common and for most people, they’re nuisances that are easily fixed. But for people with diabetes, they can lead to serious complications including infections, ulcers, and amputation.
Prevention and Foot Care
You can avoid these problems by keeping your feet healthy and being alert to the warning signs of diabetes-related foot complications.
Examine your feet. Get into the habit of examining your feet regularly for any cuts, cracks, sores or signs of infection. Diabetes can often mean that you lose feeling in your feet and may not notice cuts or scrapes when they happen.
Don’t use home remedies. Never use home remedies to treat conditions like corns, calluses, fungal nail or warts. These can all lead to cuts that expose your skin to infection.
Leave sharp objects alone. Don’t use sharp objects to give yourself pedicures or to home-treat your foot conditions. Never let anyone else use sharp objects on your feet. Always trim your toenails straight across and file away any rough edges.
Keep your feet moisturized. Dry skin can leave cracks that allow an infection to enter your skin. Keep the skin on your feet and legs moisturized by soaking them in water that has a few drops of bath oil in it. Use moisturizing lotions on your feet and legs regularly and avoid harsh, drying soaps.
Get regular foot checkups. Make regular podiatric appointments a part of your routine medical care. Be sure your foot care specialist knows about any diabetic complications you’re having in addition to any concerns with your feet, ankles, and legs.
Podiatric Care for Diabetes
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we provide comprehensive foot care for our patients with diabetes. In addition to controlling your weight and blood sugar, the best preventive care you can take is to get regular podiatric examinations.
Call Dr. Shuman today and get started on a regular routine that will keep your feet happy and healthy for many years to come.