Diabetes arises when your body fails to create or use insulin correctly. Patients with diabetes are susceptible to foot complications. To prevent serious foot problems, patients should undertake proper diabetic foot care. A podiatrist or a doctor should also examine their feet for any injury or sores at least once every year.
Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes is a condition that interferes with the way the body utilizes sugar for fuel. It can affect different body parts, with feet being one of the most common.
According to NIH, about a quarter of diabetes patients who are admitted to the hospital have foot ulcers or sores. Foot problems related to diabetes account for about 50 percent of foot and leg amputations, not injury related. That’s why taking proper care of your feet is necessary for your health.
Primary Foot Conditions Diabetes Patients Can Develop
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of neuropathy. It can happen when nerve damage occurs in the arms, legs, feet, and hands. Some patients with nerve damage may experience tingling, numbness, or pain, but others might have no signs.
Nerve damage may lower the ability to feel cold, heat, or pain. Failure to feel pain can be costly, as you cannot tell when something is wrong.
Although every diabetes patient can have nerve damage, the following factors increase the risk:
- Having high cholesterol
- Having high blood pressure
- Being more than 40 years old
- Having excessive weight
- Having diabetes for many years, mainly if your blood sugar is mostly higher than normal
- Having a hard-to-manage blood sugar
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Poor blood circulation is the second leading cause of foot problems in diabetes patients. It occurs when blood vessels in your legs and feet narrow and harden, preventing blood from flowing freely.
Signs of Peripheral Vascular Disease
Most Peripheral Vascular Disease patients may not have any symptoms. For those with symptoms, the most common ones include painful leg cramping during exercises. Other symptoms include the following:
- Weakness, numbness, or muscles heaviness
- Aching or burning pain, mostly your toes, when resting or at night when sleeping
- Wounds that fail to heal on the ankles or heal
- Restricted mobility
- Thickened, opaque toenails
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Foot Care Tips for Diabetic Patients
Proper foot care practices can help lower the risk of developing major foot complications like ulcers and infections. The following are tips for keeping the feet healthy:
Get Frequent Checkups
Check your feet daily for problems such as redness, blisters, cuts, toenail irregularities, and swelling. If you can’t see your feet well, use a mirror. Contact your doctor if you see anything unusual with your feet.
Wash Your Feet
Use mild soap and water to wash your feet regularly. Avoid harsh soap and hot water, as they can damage your skin. Be gentle when cleaning your feet to avoid injuring your skin.
Dry Your Feet Properly
Keeping your feet dry helps prevent infections. Remember to dry between your toes.
Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Once you dry your feet, apply oils like coconut oil or lotion. Avoid using cream or oil between the toes, as it might lead to fungal infection.
Keep Your Nails Short
Podiatrists recommend cutting the toenails straight across. Cutting your toenails too short could lead to ingrown toenails.
Get the Best Diabetic Foot Care Today
The best diabetic foot care experts offer unmatched expertise in diagnosing and treating diabetes-related foot problems and any other foot problems. They provide a variety of surgical and conservative treatments to relieve your symptoms and help you enjoy your life. Don’t let diabetic foot problems stop you from enjoying your life, seek help now!