Diabetes is a common problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 10 Americans live with diabetes. But it’s easy to overlook the dangers it can pose for your feet.
This blood sugar problem occurs when your body doesn’t use glucose properly. And, whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, chronically high blood sugar can cause damage to your nerves and blood vessels — and your feet.
Here, the diabetic foot care experts at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center explain why foot problems arise with diabetes and what to watch for if you have the condition. With their help and guidance, you can avoid the foot issues and complications associated with diabetes.
Why diabetes puts your feet at risk
Diabetes may be a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime, but you can effectively manage it. Controlling blood sugar requires a combination of diet, exercise, and medication.
However, problems can arise when you have poorly controlled diabetes, leaving your blood sugar levels chronically elevated. Having high blood sugar levels damages the nerves and narrows the veins that supply those nerves with oxygen and nutrients.
When this occurs, you can start experiencing sensations in your feet, like tingling or a lack of feeling. It’s often a sign that your nerves are misfiring.
These changes in nerve function and blood supply can also interfere with the healing process. As a result, even the smallest wound on your foot can take longer to heal. Worse yet, you may not realize the wound exists because of a loss of feeling in your feet. This can lead to dangerous complications.
In severe cases, you can end up with foot wounds and bacterial infections that your immune system can’t fight. If the infection spreads, amputation may be necessary — a major complication of diabetes.
The good news is that you can avoid these complications by controlling your blood sugar levels, taking good care of your feet, and seeking prompt medical treatment for wounds.
Protecting your feet when you have diabetes
Foot problems are a common problem, especially issues like:
- Wounds and ulcers
- Fungal infections
- Calluses and corns
- Ingrown toenails
However, they tend to be more common — and more serious — in people with diabetes. Because of that, our team recommends inspecting your feet each day for signs of infection or injury. You can also avoid bacterial growth by wearing clean, dry, breathable socks.
It’s also essential to have an experienced podiatrist on your care team when you have diabetes. This specialist routinely examines your feet for injuries, lesions, and nerve damage and can also provide personalized guidance on the best footwear or custom orthotics to wear to protect your feet from rubbing or damage.
Working with a podiatrist ensures that you receive proper wound care or treatment for problems as quickly as possible to prevent infection or further complications.
Do you have diabetes? Whether you have wounds or not, don’t wait to contact us to schedule an appointment to care for your feet. Our team at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center is ready to treat your foot problems and help you lower your risk for complications related to diabetes.