Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care

According to the American Diabetes Association, 9.3% of Americans have diabetes, which affects how the human body processes glucose. Over an extended period, high glucose levels can damage the nervous system, reducing sensation in the feet.

Due to the suppression of the immune response and reduced blood flow to the feet in people with diabetes, the body may be unable to heal wounds you suffer to your feet. As sensation has already been reduced, if you aren’t checking your feet regularly, you may only realize your feet are injured once it’s too late. In addition, if left untreated, bacterial infections can lead to gangrene, which may require amputation to ensure that the infection does not spread to other parts of the body.

Let’s discuss how exactly diabetic foot problems occur, what serious foot problems are, and how you can prevent them from happening to you.

Why Do Diabetic Foot Problems Happen?

With diabetes, high blood sugar damages your body in many ways, with one part affected is your nerves. Nerve damage occurs the most in your feet and ankles, leading to several problems if left untreated.

Common Foot and Ankle Conditions

Sensory Diabetic Neuropathy

Because you have damaged nerves, you may not feel pain in your feet, nor can you feel if your feet are hot are cold. Because of this, you may not notice that you have foot problems, which can lead to severe issues if left untreated. For example, you may not feel an infection until it’s too late.

Poor Circulation

Because blood has difficulties getting to your feet, you may have several foot problems. For example, when your blood vessels don’t deliver blood like they used to, you may develop diabetic foot ulcers, have slow wound healing, plantar fasciitis (heel pain,) gangrene, and several other foot and ankle problems.

Common Foot Problems Become More Intense

One challenge of diabetes is that standard foot and ankle conditions can worsen due to your condition. For example, you may have athlete’s foot, corns, calluses, an ingrown toenail, rheumatoid arthritis, dry cracks, fungal toenails, blisters, and much more. As a result, you may feel extreme foot pain or ankle pain, or you may feel nothing at all.

These problems can lead to intense consequences if left untreated. For example, you may need ankle surgery, have trouble walking, and amputation can occur in extreme diabetic foot cases. In extreme cases, death may occur due to untreated foot and ankle-related conditions.

What Can I Do?

Understandably, this can sound terrifying if you have diabetes. However, you can make some lifestyle changes to prevent further complications. Here are some ways you can prevent complications.

  • Check your feet daily.
  • Keep your diabetes under control.
  • Wash your feet daily.
  • Keep your feet moisturized (but no lotion between the toes, as moisture here, can create conditions friendly to fungal infection).
  • Encourage circulation in your feet by wiggling your toes and changing positions regularly.
  • Meet regularly with your trusted podiatrist.

Check Your Feet Daily

Be sure that there are no foot and ankle problems such as a foot ulcer, an infected wound, or other conditions. The leading cause of foot issues is when you don’t treat a problem before it’s too late. Sometimes, checking your feet can help with this.

Keep Your Diabetes Under Control

The best way to prevent nerve damage and poor circulation is to check your blood sugar regularly, exercise, and follow a proper diet. While it does not entirely prevent blood circulation or foot pain issues, it can reduce or slow their progress.

Wash your feet daily

To prevent any possible infections, keep your feet clean and practice wound care by disinfecting any wounds you may have. Use mild soap and avoid any harsh treatments. Also, don’t think you shouldn’t wash your feet because you haven’t been out much today; your feet can still get dirty, and through regular washing, you can prevent this.

Moisturize Your Feet

Moisturizing can keep your feet healthy and prevent conditions associated with dry feet. However, avoid putting any lotion between your toes. Doing so may cause you to develop conditions associated with fungal infection. Instead, rub the lotion in well, and moisturize at least daily.

Move To promote Circulation

Besides working out, you can do this by wiggling your toes, changing your sitting positions, and moving around every so often. This can promote circulation in your feet and keep you healthy by exercising.

Use diabetic footwear

Diabetic socks and shoes protect your feet by reducing your risks of ulcers, sores, and other foot conditions. Alternatively, wear thick socks and shoes to prevent any foot issues. When you’re working out, be sure to use appropriate athletic shoes and other foot gear.

Meet Regularly With Your trusted podiatrist

Podiatric care is encouraged if you want to prevent foot issues. A professional podiatrist can help you spot any warning signs of severe conditions, help you treat calluses, dry cracks, and other conditions, and help speed the healing process of foot-related issues.

We Can Help

If you have diabetes, you must ensure foot health by working with your podiatrist to reduce the likelihood of infection and quickly treat any infection that arises. We have experience in diabetic foot care. Our board-certified podiatrists can help you answer any questions and concerns about your feet. You only have one pair of feet and must take care of them for as long as possible.

Contact us – today to learn how we can help you protect your feet for a lifetime. We can provide a custom orthotics solution that centers around your foot needs. In addition, our expert diabetic foot care team can help your feet feel good as new.

Cutting Edge Foot and Ankle clinic

 Diabetic patients are prone to many foot, ankle and lower extremity problems due to peripheral neuropathy (loss of sensation due to damage of the nerves) and poor circulation. Due to peripheral neuropathy diabetic patients are unable to feel any pressure areas, painful calluses that can lead to wounds and open wounds that can ultimately lead to bad infections quickly if not addressed. Due to poor circulation, diabetic patients that develop cuts or wounds heal very slowly which can lead to increased risk of infection and ultimately amputation. Severe poor circulation (peripheral arterial disease) if not addressed can lead to gangrene (death of body tissue or severe bacterial infection). This can lead to sepsis (infection in blood that is life threatening). It is very important for diabetic patients to practice preventive care and important that diabetic patients to be seen by a podiatrist for routine foot care including nail care and callus care. We will also make sure you are in the proper shoe gear and inserts.

 

Routine Diabetic Foot Exam in our office includes:

  1. Blood flow check, if pulses in your feet cannot be felt with our fingers, we use an ultrasound to hear for pulses. If there is lack of blood flow, we order other blood flow tests and refer patients to vascular surgeons. We also check for swelling which can lead to breaks in the skin and ulcers.
  2. Check sensation in your feet utilizing multiple instruments.
  3. Check your skin and nails for any changes in color, calluses, dry skin, any wounds or signs of local infection.
  4. Check for any deformities in your feet including bunions and hammertoes which can lead wounds. Check for Charcot deformity, which is a severe foot deformity caused by loss of sensation in your feet. This can lead to foot fractures, worsening deformity, difficulties walking, wounds and can lead to amputation.
  5. DO NOT trim your own toenails or shave calluses at home or perform at “home surgery” of ingrowing toenails. You can cut yourself and this can lead to wounds/infections. We can trim your toenails in the office, shave calluses and perform ingrowing nail procedures in the office in a safe and clean manner.
  6. VISIT our office for routine diabetic foot care every 3 months. It is important for us as podiatrists to educate, perform routine foot exams, perform nail care or any other preventive measures necessary including prescribing diabetic shoes and inserts to prevent pre-ulcerative calluses and ulcers.
CE Foot & Ankle Clinic, Nashville
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