Having diabetes comes with a host of issues, many of which require daily monitoring and care. However, many people often forget about one of the most important — but most commonly overlooked — parts of the body that diabetes can harm: the feet.
At Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle, our team understands the extra care diabetics need for their feet. In addition to providing wound care and treatment for podiatric problems caused by diabetes, they offer general foot care and recommend preventive tips to keep your feet as healthy as possible.
Diabetic neuropathy and your feet
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States today. The problem itself is usually well-understood, even by those who haven’t experienced it in their immediate families or social circles. One aspect of diabetes that tends to fly under the radar, though, is diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that occurs in the body as a result of diabetes. Around half of diabetics experience some form of diabetic neuropathy. The feet are very vulnerable to this problem.
Diabetic neuropathy causes a number of possible side effects, including
- Tingling sensation
- Inability to feel cold, heat, or pain
- Increased sensitivity
Although certain parts of the body may become overly sensitive to pain and discomfort, it’s common for neuropathy to cause your feet to become numb or less likely to experience pain. This means that if you injure your foot, you might not feel it. Even a small injury can cause significant problems if it doesn’t get proper treatment.
Blood circulation and your feet
Another way diabetes can cause problems for your feet is through slowed blood circulation. This can create a problem where your feet don’t receive adequate blood flow.
If you hurt yourself, either by cutting your toe or getting a blister on your heel, it takes longer than usual for the problem to heal because of your poor circulation. This leaves more time and opportunity for infections and other problems to occur.
Caring for your feet when you’re diabetic
The dangerous combination of diabetic neuropathy, poor circulation, and a tendency toward infection can cause serious podiatric problems for diabetics. Sadly, when these issues aren’t managed quickly and properly, more serious treatment options might be necessary, including amputation of your toes or even your whole foot.
A study published by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that subjects who had a foot or leg amputation as a result of diabetic complications experienced an increased risk of death. As such, prevention is key when it comes to diabetic foot care.
Here are some of the best ways to protect your feet if you have diabetes:
- Inspect your feet daily for blisters, cuts, discoloration, and changes
- Wash your feet every day, drying them fully afterward
- Apply moisturizer to the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes
- Always wear shoes, even inside, and make sure they fit properly
- Avoid removing calluses or corns; have your doctor do this
- Exercise your feet while you’re sitting
- Cut your toenails straight across and never too short
- Keep regular appointments with a podiatrist
To learn more about diabetic foot care or to make an appointment at one of our four convenient offices in Colorado, contact us today.