A patient came in after he noticed the wounds on his feet were taking a long time to heal. He also noted that he was diabetic and that oftentimes he does not notice whether his feet were hot or cold. He finally decided to see a podiatrist after worrying that some of the deep ulcerations on his feet would cause further complications, which could spread throughout his body. Thankfully, I was able to save his feet from further damage before it was too late.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.