What Can Diabetes Do to Your Feet?
Of course, we emphasize foot care here. This is a podiatry practice, after all! But proper diabetic foot care is truly an important issue in general.
While diabetes affects many areas of the body, the feet are in a particularly vulnerable position. They tend to be affected more by poor circulation than the rest of the body, given their distance from the heart. It takes more effort to pump blood to the feet, so any problems with circulation tend to affect them first.
Circulatory problems from diabetes, as well as nerve damage and additional problems, can put the feet at a terrible disadvantage:
- Because circulation is poor, wounds can take longer to heal, or not heal at all without medical intervention.
- Because nerves are damaged, injuries to the feet may not even be felt and go unnoticed.
These two consequences together account for many cases where injuries to the feet go unnoticed, providing plenty of opportunity for them to worsen into sores and deep ulcers. These can then become infected, which can result in a need to remove the foot.
That happens about 73,000 times per year in the United States.
But once again, it is not difficult to guard yourself against such complications. Here are some simple yet important tips.
Check Your Feet Every Day
This is the most important thing you can do for your foot health, and it really is as basic as this.
Every day, take a few moments to look over your feet for any signs of damage or trouble. Check tops, bottoms, and between the toes, searching for:
- Discolored areas
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Essentially, you are looking for anything that is out of the ordinary.
If you do find an area of concern, use your best judgment and give us a call if it is something that should have prompt attention or doesn’t improve after a day or two. Conditions such as warts and ingrown toenails are not something you should try to treat yourself. Leave it to us instead for a greatly reduced risk of further complications.
When we say “every day,” we do mean it. Starting now and developing a good habit of foot inspection will ensure that you’re there to catch something if it ever does happen. Not only that, but you’ll also develop a great read on what your feet should and should not be like!
Choose a time that you know you can commit to every day. Just before going to sleep, or before or after you jump in the shower are all good opportunities.
If you can’t easily inspect all of your feet, there are a few tricks that can help. Use a mirror or even a selfie stick to get a better angle on things. The help of a loved one can also be invaluable.