27 Apr Why are feet so Vulnerable to Diabetes?
Managing Diabetes-Related Foot Problems
We all need to take care of our feet, but people with diabetes need to be especially careful. Every year, more than 70,000 people with diabetes lose a lower limb to amputation caused by diabetic foot diseases. The good news is that daily foot care, the right footwear, and regular podiatric care visits can keep those conditions under control. Here’s what you need to know about the most common diabetes-related foot conditions.
Neuropathy and Nerve Damage
Diabetic neuropathy is a common ailment among people with diabetes. It refers to a loss of feeling in your nerve endings. This is dangerous because you can burn, cut, or injure your foot without realizing it. Those injuries continue to get worse and develop serious complications.
Doctors estimate that 50% of people with diabetes experience nerve damage in their feet. How do you know if you have it? One sign might be the following symptoms:
- Cracked, dry skin.
- Frequent infections.
- Sores that don’t heal.
You can’t be sure unless you get a diagnosis from a podiatrist. As a person with diabetes, you should be checking your feet every day. If you notice anything unusual, let your doctor know.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
This is a circulatory disease that causes your blood vessels to get thicker and slow down. Over time, sores and wounds are unable to heal because they’re not receiving a steady supply of blood. If it’s left untreated, this is a very dangerous condition. Untreated wounds eventually turn into diabetic foot ulcers.
About 25% of diabetic foot ulcers never heal. When that happens, the amputation of the leg or foot may be the only option.
You can be at risk for peripheral vascular disease if:
- You have a history of circulatory problems.
- You smoke or use drugs.
- You don’t exercise.
What Are the Symptoms of Peripheral Vascular Disease?
The illness can strike anywhere on your body. If you have diabetes, however, it’s more likely to develop in your feet. You should contact a doctor if you experience:
- Muscles that feel numb or heavy.
- Thick, discolored toenails.
- Toes that take on a bluish color.
- Burning sensation.
- Weak pulses.
- Wounds that don’t heal.
Corns and Calluses
People with diabetes are more likely to develop corns and calluses on their feet. In order to keep calluses under control, use a pumice stone daily. Coat the soles of your feet with moisturizer to prevent the cracking that can lead to sores, infection, and calluses. Never try to cut or slice your calluses yourself. If they’re extremely bad, your podiatrist can cut them for you.
Tips to Protect Your Feet
You can cope with nerve damage, vascular disease, and other conditions by following a strict regimen of good foot care. If you have diabetes, it’s especially important to follow these guidelines.
Check your feet twice a day. If you notice unusual blistering, pain, or tingling sensations, let your podiatrist know immediately.
- Use a moisturizer on your feet daily.
- Do what’s necessary to control your blood sugar spikes.
- Protect feet from temperature extremes.
- Never use sharp instruments on your feet.
- Get podiatric checkups twice a year.
Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine Is Here for You
If you need help managing diabetes-related foot conditions, Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine is happy to help. We can help you manage your blood sugar and closely monitor the health of your feet. Most people with diabetes live long, full lives with healthy feet. With the right care, you can do the same.