Living with diabetes requires a vigilant approach to your overall health. One crucial aspect often overlooked is diabetic foot care. Your feet are susceptible to complications due to diabetes, but with proper care and attention, you can reduce the risk of serious issues. In this blog, we will explore how diabetes affects your feet, what to pay attention to, and the essential steps you can take at home to maintain foot health.
How does diabetes affect your feet?
Diabetes can affect your feet in several ways, primarily due to the impact on blood circulation and nerve damage. High blood sugar levels over time can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves in your extremities. This can result in poor circulation, reduced sensation in your feet, and slower healing of wounds. As a result, you may be more susceptible to various foot problems, including:
- Neuropathy: Nerve damage can lead to loss of sensation in your feet, making it difficult to detect pain, temperature changes, or injuries. You may not even notice small cuts, blisters, or infections, which can develop into more severe complications.
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Diabetes can narrow and harden your blood vessels, reducing blood flow to your extremities. This can result in cramping, pain, and an increased risk of developing ulcers and sores on your feet.
- Infections: Weakened immunity and reduced blood flow can make it harder for your body to fight infections. Minor injuries or sores can become infected more easily, leading to severe complications.
- Foot Ulcers: Open sores or ulcers that develop on the feet can be slow to heal due to poor circulation. If left untreated, they can become infected and lead to amputation in severe cases.
What are some things to pay attention to?
To prevent diabetic foot complications, it’s essential to be vigilant and proactive. Here are some key things to pay attention to:
- Foot Sensation: Regularly check your feet for any changes in sensation. If you notice numbness, tingling, or loss of feeling, consult our experienced team.
- Skin Changes: Examine your feet for any cuts, sores, blisters, or changes in skin color. Even minor injuries should not be ignored.
- Foot Deformities: Watch for any changes in the shape of your feet or toes, which could be a sign of developing complications.
- Foot Temperature: Touch your feet to check for temperature differences. Cold feet may indicate poor circulation.
- Swelling: Look for any swelling in your feet or ankles, as it could be a sign of fluid retention, a common issue in diabetes.
Are there things I should be doing at home?
Certainly! There are several measures you can take at home to ensure proper diabetic foot care:
- Check your feet every day: Make it a daily routine to inspect your feet thoroughly for any cuts, sores, blisters, or other abnormalities. Use a mirror if necessary to examine the soles.
- Wash your feet every day: Clean your feet with warm water and mild soap, but avoid soaking them for long periods. Afterward, ensure they are completely dry, especially between the toes.
- Never go barefoot: Always wear shoes or slippers, even indoors, to protect your feet from injuries. Avoid walking on hot surfaces or rough terrain.
- Wear shoes that fit well: Choose comfortable shoes that provide ample support and have enough room for your toes. Avoid tight-fitting or pointed shoes.
- Trim your toenails straight across: To prevent ingrown toenails, cut them straight across and avoid cutting the corners too deeply.
- Don’t remove corns or calluses yourself: Seek professional care to address these issues, as self-treatment can lead to complications.
- Get your feet checked at every healthcare visit: Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help identify potential problems early and provide guidance on maintaining foot health.
- Keep the blood flowing: Engage in physical activity and exercise regularly to improve circulation. Consult your doctor for a suitable exercise plan.
Choose feet-friendly activities: Opt for activities that are gentle on your feet, such as swimming or cycling. Avoid high-impact sports that may increase the risk of foot injuries.
If you’re not feeling anything, tell your doctor
A significant danger for those with diabetes is neuropathy, which can lead to a loss of sensation in the feet. If you notice numbness, tingling, or an inability to feel pain, it’s crucial to inform our office immediately. This lack of sensation can make you unaware of injuries or infections that could escalate into serious complications.
When to come in and see us?
Regular check-ups with our team are essential, but you should schedule an appointment immediately in the following situations:
- Any open sores or wounds on your feet that are not healing or showing signs of infection.
- Ingrown toenails or fungal infections that worsen despite home care.
- Signs of foot deformities or changes in foot shape.
- Unexplained pain, swelling, or unusual sensations in your feet.
- If you suspect a foreign object, like a splinter, is embedded in your foot.
Diabetic foot care is a critical aspect of managing diabetes. By staying informed about the potential risks, practicing proper at-home care, and seeking professional help when needed, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of severe foot complications. Your feet carry you through life, so it’s crucial to keep them healthy, especially when living with diabetes.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding diabetic foot care, please feel free to get in touch with us. We are here to help!
Our team is ready to assist you and provide the support you need to maintain healthy feet and effectively manage diabetes. Don’t hesitate to reach out.