Diabetics: Maintain Foot Health to Avoid Amputation
By Arthur Kaplan, D.P.M.
February 07, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Diabetes causes a condition of painful nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy can affect your entire body, but the legs and feet are the body’s most prone areas to serious health problems. Damage to the nerves can cause the loss of feeling in your feet, making it difficult to detect extreme temperatures and pain as easily or readily as someone who does not have diabetes. Understanding the connection between foot care and diabetes is important to avoid more serious health problems. Visit your podiatrist, about the best ways to care for your feet.
Inspect Your Feet Regularly
If you have diabetes, it’s crucial to examine your feet every day and after every injury, regardless of how minor you may think the injury is. If you notice redness, swelling, persistent pain, numbness, tingling or any other unusual signs on any part of your foot, call your podiatrist immediately, as this could signify serious health problems.
It’s also recommended that people with diabetes see a podiatrist for annual checkups. A professional podiatrist can detect broken skin or ulcers that can be detrimental to the health of your feet and body. They can also check your blood circulation, identify loss of sensation or detect areas of high pressure - all of which require professional medical attention.
Small Foot Problems Can Lead to Bigger Problems
If you have diabetes, even the smallest foot problems can turn into more serious complications. Some of these small complications include:
- Ulcers that don’t heal
- Cracked heels
- Ingrown toenails
With these complications, you run the risk of developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which is a condition that develops slowly and worsens over time, and Charcot foot, which is a condition in which the bones of the foot are weakened enough to fracture. Taking extra precautions and caring for even the smallest injuries with care might just save your foot.
Keep Your Feet Healthy with Proper Foot Hygiene
Everyone needs to practice good foot hygiene daily, but people with diabetes should pay extra attention to keeping their feet clean in order to prevent health problems. If you have diabetes, your podiatrist urges you to:
- Wash your feet daily with lukewarm water and mild soap, making sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Keep the skin on your feet smooth and soft by applying a non-irritating moisturizer, avoiding the areas between the toes. Doing so can help prevent cracks and sores that lead to infection.
- Avoid ingrown toenails than can get infected by keeping them neatly trimmed straight across.
- Wear clean, dry socks and change them every day.
- Avoid walking barefoot to protect feet from harmful foreign particles.
- Never attempt to remove corns, calluses or other sores from your feet on your own. See your podiatrist for safe and pain-free removal.
Early detection, simple care and regular inspections can go a long way to avoid serious foot complications related to diabetes. Diabetes is serious, especially when it comes to your feet. If you have diabetes, talk with your podiatrist about what you can do now to keep your feet safe, strong and healthy.
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