How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Diabetes, a chronic condition, is known for its systemic impact on the body. One of the lesser-known but highly significant areas it affects is one’s feet. A diabetic foot care specialist is an expert in diagnosing and treating foot-related issues caused by diabetes. These professionals are specifically trained to handle the complex conditions that diabetes can cause in your feet.

Understanding Diabetic Foot Complications

High blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can cause damage to various body systems, including your nervous and circulatory systems. This can lead to two major foot-related problems:

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy can negatively affect the feet. It often causes numbness and pain, described as burning or tingling. Its extreme form can lead to foot ulcers and severe infections due to reduced sensation. This loss of feeling is dangerous because you may overlook minor injuries that can quickly become serious if untreated. Foot muscle weakness can also occur, leading to instability and falls. Changes in the shape of the feet can also happen due to motor nerve damage.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects the feet by reducing blood flow due to narrowed arteries. Symptoms in the feet may include pain or cramping, especially during physical activity, numbness, coldness compared to other body parts, and a noticeable color change. Non-healing sores or wounds may also occur on the feet due to poor circulation. In severe cases, serious limb ischemia can develop, leading to ulceration or gangrene, which can necessitate amputation.

Managing Diabetic Foot Complications

Preventing diabetic foot complications involves managing your blood sugar levels and taking good care of your feet. Here are some steps you can take:

Go for Regular Foot Checks

Regular foot checks involve examining the feet daily for any cuts, sores, redness, swelling, or changes in skin color. Regularly scheduled exams with diabetic foot care doctors also aid in detecting early signs of nerve damage, poor circulation, skin changes, and deformities. If problems are detected early, they can be treated more effectively, preventing serious complications like ulcers or amputations.

Observe Proper Foot Hygiene

Proper foot hygiene involves daily washing of feet with warm water and mild soap, which helps to eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of infections. Drying the feet thoroughly, particularly between the toes, is equally significant to prevent fungal infections. Moisturizing the feet, except for the areas between the toes, can help prevent dry and cracked skin, which can be an entry point for bacteria. Wearing clean, dry socks and shoes also contributes to foot hygiene by protecting the feet from external injuries and infections.

Wear Suitable Footwear

Appropriate shoes can help reduce pressure on the feet, which is key in avoiding ulcerations, one of the most preventable complications of diabetes. Therapeutic footwear, specifically designed for people with diabetes, can be used as a strategy to prevent re-ulceration. Wearing fitting, comfortable shoes can prevent small foot problems from escalating into severe issues.

Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

Most people with diabetes can prevent serious foot complications with regular care and maintaining their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Managing diabetes is necessary as high blood glucose levels make it hard to fight infection. Monitoring blood sugar levels and confirming they are in a healthy range can prevent foot complications. Controlling blood sugar levels is a preventative measure and a management strategy for diabetic foot complications.

Work With a Reputable Diabetic Foot Care Doctors

Awareness and proactive foot care are significant in managing the effects of diabetes on your feet. You can maintain healthy feet and prevent severe complications by taking the necessary steps. Foot doctors also help diagnose and treat conditions related to the foot, ankle, and related leg structures. They manage various conditions, from bunions and heel spurs to congenital abnormalities and injuries. Podiatrists can provide preventative care advice and treatment for people with diabetes who are at risk of foot complications. Seek the services of a reputable foot doctor near you.

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