Diabetes and Foot Care
December 07, 2019
Submitted by Myron Hansen, DPM, FACFAS, Cactus Foot and Ankle
Foot problems are common in people with diabetes. Many diabetics are fearful of the thought of losing a toe, foot, or leg to diabetes, or know someone who has. However, there is hope—you can lower your chances of having diabetes-related foot problems by properly taking care of your feet every day. Controlling your blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar, can also help keep your feet healthy.
How can diabetes disturb my feet?
Over time, diabetes may cause nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy, that can cause tingling and pain, and can make you lose feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Cuts and sores can become infected.
Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet. Not having enough blood flowing to your legs and feet can make it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Sometimes, a bad infection never heals.
The infection might lead to gangrene.
Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not heal with treatment can lead to an amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg. A surgeon may perform an amputation to prevent a bad infection from spreading to the rest of your body, and to save your life. Good foot care is very important to prevent serious infections and gangrene.
Although rare, nerve damage from diabetes can lead to changes in the shape of your feet, such as Charcot’s foot. Charcot’s foot may start with redness, warmth, and swelling. Later, bones in your feet and toes can shift or break, which can cause your feet to have an odd shape, such as a “rocker bottom.”
What can I do to keep my feet healthy?
Work with your health care team to make a diabetes self-care plan, which is an action plan for how you will manage your diabetes. Your plan should include foot care. A foot doctor, also called a podiatrist, and other specialists may be part of your health care team. Include these steps in your foot care plan:
Tips to Take Care of Your Feet
Check your feet every day.
- Check your feet every day
- Wash your feet every day
- Smooth corns and calluses gently
- Trim your toenails straight across
- Wear shoes and socks at all times
- Protect your feet from hot and cold
- Keep the blood flowing to your feet
- Get a foot check at every health care visit
You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet. Checking your feet each day will help you spot problems early before they get worse. A good way to remember is to check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. Also check between your toes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror to see them, or ask someone else to look at your feet.
Look for problems such as:
- cuts, sores, or red spots. Cover a blister, cut or sore with a bandage.
- swelling or fluid-filled blisters
- ingrown toenails, in which the edge of your nail grows into your skin
- corns or calluses, which are spots of rough skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot
- plantar warts, which are flesh-colored growths on the bottom of the feet
- athlete’s foot
- warm spots
If you have certain foot problems that make it more likely you will develop a sore on your foot, your doctor may recommend taking the temperature of the skin on different parts of your feet. A “hot spot” can be the first sign that a blister or an ulcer is starting.
If you have a questions or concerns, contact Cactus Foot and Ankle. As experts in the field of podiatry, our goal is to provide you with proper treatment and diagnosis to improving the health of your feet, ankles, and lower legs by offering innovative treatments for injuries, diseases, and other conditions. Contact us by phone 480-889-2905 or visit our website at www.cactusfootandankle.com.We are located at 1880 W. Fry Road, Suite # 3 in Chandler. Se habla español
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