Diabetes and foot health
For an individual suffering from diabetes, foot care is of prime importance. There are a series of critical factors that correlate the health of your feet and diabetes.
The two most important factors that make you much more vulnerable to foot problems in diabetes are the reduced sensation of the skin on your feet and narrowing of arteries that go to the feet. These phenomenons explain why diabetes and foot issues often go hand in hand.
Experts point out that diabetes is likely to alter your body’s ability to fight infection. It can damage your blood vessels which will result in a lesser amount of blood and oxygen being supplied to your feet. Therefore, even a small sore or break in the skin of your foot can develop into a serious ulcer. It is for such reasons that in an individual suffering from diabetes, foot care regimen needs to focus on prevention as well as cure.
Problem diabetes foot symptoms
Diabetes and feet problems go hand in hand. Hence, it is important that if you have these problems, as mild as they might be, they should never be ignored. Ask yourself, do you suffer from any of the below?
• Are your feet always cold?
• Is there a lack of hair growth on your lower legs and feet?
• Do your legs ache when you walk and stop hurting when you stop?
• Do your lower legs have a shiny skin?
• Do your legs look dark red or purple when dangling?
If these sound familiar, speak to your healthcare professional without any further delay since you could be headed for complications related to diabetes and feet issues.
Most important of all, you need to be alert for any kind of foot ulcers. If you have diabetes, foot swelling or redness around the area of the ulcer needs to be given urgent attention.
When you are suffering from diabetes, foot problems can cause major discomfort, pain and even serious complications. Interestingly, if you already have problems with your foot, diabetes can aggravate them further. For instance, athletes foot and diabetes have often found to be co-existent, the former being a fungal infection that occurs in between toes of patients of diabetes.
Diabetes foot care guidelines
• Use mild soap and warm water to wash your feet every day. Just make sure the water is not too warm. You will have to use your hand or elbow to check the temperature first.
• Keep your feet dry, especially between the toes.
• Keep your toenails well-trimmed all the time.
• Regularly check for the presence of any dry skin , blisters, sores, cracks, redness or swelling which could be a sign of impending complications related to diabetes, foot pain being the most obvious expected result.
• Check for any foot sores. In diabetes, foot sore that doesn’t heal within a few days needs to be treated medically.
• Keep your feet, especially the soles well moisturized.
• Ingrown nails can give a rise to complications if you have diabetes and foot infection could occur eventually.
• Never cut out your corns and calluses yourself. See a specialist who specializes in foot care for diabetes.
• Do not apply heating pad or hot water bottle on your feet.
• Avoid walking barefoot.
• Avoid sitting cross-legged.
• Avoid smoking.
• Regulate your sugar and dietary intake.
• Wear proper footwear and socks. Avoid wearing open toe or open heel shoes. Soft canvas and leather shoes are ideal. Wear clean socks, with soft elastics.
• Go for regular medical check-ups.
If suffering from diabetes, a foot care regimen of your own is a must, apart from seeking medical advice. In patients with diabetes, even minor foot problems need immediate attention, preferably from an experienced healthcare professional.
By Jasmin Pannu
Ask your diabetes foot problem questions…
Do you have something to share about this?