A diabetic foot is a foot that shows a pathology that results directly from a long-term complication of diabetes mellitus. The presence of numerous particular diabetic foot pathologies such as infection, diabetic foot ulcers, and additionally neuropathic osteoarthropathy is called diabetic foot syndrome.
How can diabetes affect my feet?
If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your nerves or blood vessels.
Diabetic neuropathy is a sort of nerve damages that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can injure your nerves throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy usually harms nerves in your legs and also feet.
It is a typical severe complication of diabetes. Yet you can prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progression with effective blood sugar level control and by a healthy and balanced way of life.
Peripheral vascular disease
Diabetes also affects the flow of blood. Without good blood flow, it takes longer for a sore or cut to heal. Poor blood flow in the arms and legs is called “peripheral vascular disease.”
If you have an infection that will not heal because of poor blood flow, you are at risk for developing ulcers or gangrene means the death of tissue due to a lack of blood (1).
The signs and symptoms of a diabetic foot are mentioned below. These signs get worse during the night.
- Extreme sensitivity to even the lightest touch
- Numbness (loss of feeling)
- Insensitivity to pain and/or temperature
- Burning, stabbing, or electric shock sensations
- Muscle weakness
- Poor coordination
- Muscle cramping and/or twitching
If you notice any of these symptoms contact your doctor immediately. Any delay can potentially put you at risk for more health complications and issues.
Diabetic foot care tips
Proper care of your feet should be a focus for people of every age but can be especially important for those diagnosed with diabetes.
Hence, you should be inspecting your feet daily, while bath or at anytime you could do. Here are a couple of foot care pointers to keep your feet healthy:
Check your feet everyday
Watch out for below conditions minutely, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Fungal infection
- Dry skin
- Hammertoes or plantar warts
Click here to read more about these conditions.
Control your blood sugar
If your blood sugar level continues to be raised or out of the range, it might create damages to your nervous system and also capillary. The circulation of blood to your feet may at some point end up being tightened or obstructed.
Over time, a high blood sugar level might create the nerves leading to your feet becoming inefficient, which in turn might bring about a loss of feeling pain in your feet referred to as “diabetic sensory neuropathy.”
Must read – Smart ways to beat diabetes
One of the best ways to prevent troubles with your feet is to do your best to maintain your blood sugar level within numbers by taking your medications and also insulin as prescribed, eat a healthy and balanced diet as well as stay literally active.
Keep your feet clean and dry
After you are done washing your feet, make sure you dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes. Be gentle and don’t rub your feet vigorously when you are drying.
Keeping your feet clean is an essential part of daily foot care. Wash your feet from top to bottom every day with warm water. Remember to wash the area between your toes and under your feet.
This ritual will help you notice if there are any changes in your feet, too. Make sure to use mild soap and a soft cloth or gentle sponge.
Poor circulation is 20-30 times more common in people with diabetes, and proper circulation is essential for a foot wound to heal. Add smoking into the mix, and you are looking at seriously diminished blood flow to your feet and make wounds heal more slowly.
Must read – Health risks associated with smoking
If your circulation is impaired, you will have a more difficult time healing a foot wound like a blister or a cut. Therefore, if you smoke, it’s essential to quit right away. Contact your health care provider today for help to stop smoking.
Apply moisturizer to your feet at least once a day; if you have very dry skin, do this 4 to 5 times a day. The best moisturizers contain olive, jojoba, vegetable oil, almond, or aloe vera. Always avoid moisturizer and lotions with alcohol.
As the alcohol evaporates it takes moisture from the skin. If you are allergic to certain scents, avoid moisturizers with perfumes and dyes.
If you typically shower before bed and your feet are super dry, try this quick tip, dry feet thoroughly, apply lotion to your feet, and put a pair of socks on. Having feet covered overnight will help the moisturizer soak in. Plus, your bed sheets stay clean.
Use of proper shoes and socks
If you have diabetes, you have to pay closer attention to your shoes and feet. Select your shoes properly with respect to the size, material, and comfort. Break-in new shoes slowly to avoid blisters from forming and avoid shoes that consistently rub a certain part of the foot.
Must read – 11 causes of foot pain and prevention
Similarly, choose socks that are made of synthetic fibers. These synthetic fibers draw moisture away from the skin so that it can evaporate, reducing the chance of developing an infection. Select socks without tight elastic bands, to help circulation.
Toss any socks with holes and stay away from nylon stockings (as nylon is not a breathable fabric.) Always wear clean socks and change them out if they get wet from perspiration or the weather.
Don’t go barefoot. If you’re unable to feel an injury, you have a higher risk of infection.
Foot lesions, especially leg ulcerations, are common in patients with diabetes. If treatment is delayed or inappropriate treatment is rendered, the lesion can become more infected, resulting in gangrene and/or amputation.
Physicians, clinics, and wound-healing centres that follow a rigid protocol, including aggressive therapy and repeated education of the patient in foot care, have reduced amputation rates by 50% or more.