Good foot care is essential if you are suffering from diabetes. Nerve damage, circulation problems, infections, and other serious foot issues, are the complications which show up if you ignore your feet, being a diabetic.
What Makes A Diabetic Prone To Foot Diseases?
Long-term diabetes and high blood sugar levels lead to a condition known as diabetic neuropathy, which leads to damage to the feet due to loss of circulation to the nerves of the extremities.
High glucose levels of the blood weaken the nerves of the body and also clog the arteries and create vascular problems. This results in diminished blood supply to the feet. As a result of poor circulation and nerve damage, it is very common for a person with diabetes to notice numbness in their feet. The problem is detected only when examined.
Some Of The Common Diabetic Foot Complications Are:
Foot Ulcers: Open wounds on the foot.
Charcot Foot: It is the deformation of the foot
Hammertoes: Due to muscle weakness the toes bend
Tinea Pedis or an Athlete’s Foot: It is a fungal infection of the skin of feet
Dry Skin: Neuropathy causes the skin to dry out, leading to callus formation on the weight bearing parts of the feet.
Amputation: Gangrene, if developed, might need an amputation or removal of the affected area.
Due to the loss of circulation to the extremities, the healing process of the injury or inflammation is very slow. It might take double time than a normal recovery would.
Signs and Symptoms of Foot Problem in Diabetes
Because of the loss of sensation and decreased blood supply to the feet, ulcers might develop. Insufficient oxygen supply leads to the development of gangrene, which is a life-threatening condition. Other serious issues related to diabetes are cellulitis (infection of tissues under the skin), sepsis (spreading of infection to the bloodstream), osteomyelitis (infection of the bone).
Recognizing the early signs and symptoms of foot problems is very important to avoid further complications. The symptoms are as follows:
- Loss of sensitivity to touch, cold things, and heat
- Burning sensation on feet
- Pain and tingling in feet
- Change in color or shape of feet
- Hair loss on lower legs, feet, and toes
- Yellowish discoloration of toenails
- Fungal infection of the skin of feet
- Thickening of toenails
- The appearance of red spots, corns, ingrown toenails, and blisters
- Ignoring the above symptoms can make the patient land up into very serious complications.
How To Care For Your Feet If You Are A Diabetic?
The best thing the patient can do to protect feet is to keep diabetes under control. This can prevent nerve damage.
Foot care also involves protecting the feet from damage or injury, and this can be done by reducing walking barefoot, wearing proper fitting shoes and following a daily foot care regime.
Few foot care habits which you can adopt are:
Wash Your Feet: Keep your feet clean by washing them with warm water and mild soap. Always check the temperature of the water with the finger as the patient suffering from neuropathy might not be able to sense the water temperature with feet.
Keep your feet dry and keep a check on the skin in between the toes. Infection tends to build up easily in the moist areas of the skin.
Inspect Your Feet: Always inspect your feet for any injury, eruption or sore. Contact a doctor if any cut, blister, or redness is discovered.
Moisturize Your Feet Daily: Keep away the dryness on the skin by moisturizing the feet using a lotion or oil.
Toenail Care: Trim your toenail after washing feet as they are soft. Properly trimmed toenail help in preventing ulcers and foot sores.
Well-Fitted Shoes: Wearing comfortable footwear is very important as it helps in preventing various other foot diseases. Shoes should be comfortable, providing good space to the toes.
Avoid wearing shoes made of plastic or other material. Always wear leather, canvas or suede.
Wear clean and dry socks and choose a cotton based material for them.
Blood Flow: You can improve the blood flow to the feet by wiggling the toes and ankles for five minutes two or three times a day.
Prognosis of Diabetes-Related Foot Problems
The patient should understand the best way to keep away the foot problems caused by diabetes is by daily monitoring their feet and their problem.
The gangrene, if developed, is life-threatening and there may be a necessity of amputation of the affected area. Other problems are less severe but do cause discomfort and reduced activity.
It is always advisable to consult a doctor if the problem is beginning to develop.
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