If you have diabetes, then you may experience unusual or troublesome problems with your feet. With diabetes, whenever you get a sore on your feet, you could be at risk for an infection that may result in amputation if you're not careful. Here are some things to know about how diabetes affects your feet, and things you can do to keep your feet healthy.
How are Foot Sores Worsened by Diabetes?
Chronic high blood sugar can damage the nerves enough to result in a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes can also cause problems with hardening and constriction of the arteries in the extremities, also known peripheral artery disease. This means that you may not feel pain from a cut or puncture on your feet right away. Because diabetes affects blood flow to the feet, your wounds may be slow to heal, and this could allow infection to develop.
What Are the Signs of Diabetic Foot Problems?
Serious sores and gangrene are easily noticeable with a visual inspection, but you may notice other less serious foot problems more often than people who don't have diabetes because of neuropathy and poor circulation. For example, you could experience more corns and fungal infections than non-diabetics. Your toes may bend unusually and you might be more likely to suffer from bunions or hammertoes.
What are Common Treatments for Diabetic Foot Sores?
Podiatry treatment for diabetic foot sores, and related problems, depends on the type and severity of the sore, corn, fungus, or structural problem. Anti-fungals and antibiotics may be prescribed for sores and fungus depending on your symptoms. If you have gangrene, then tissue removal is highly recommended to keep it from spreading. For bunions and other toe problems, then you may benefit from orthotic devices or possibly surgery.
How Can Diabetic Foot Sores be Prevented?
The most important things you can do to prevent diabetic foot sores is to control your diabetes and check your feet frequently. Keep your toenails professionally trimmed by a podiatrist, instead of a salon, to prevent ingrown toenails and reduce the chance of infection. Keep your feet clean and wear comfortable, correctly-sized padded shoes that don't rub or cut into your feet. Don't try to wear shoes that are too tight or put too much pressure on your toes.
Diabetic foot sores can be life-changing if they don't heal properly or get severely infected. Therefore, seeing your endocrinologist or general practitioner to get tips on managing your diabetes is important. However, if you do experience foot problems, then a podiatrist, working with your other doctor should help you get your feet back to good health.
Your feet might not seem like an important part of your personal health and wellness routine, but you would be hard-pressed to work out without them. Unfortunately, many people overlook their foot health, only to end up suffering from debilitating bunions and painful ingrown toenails. A few years ago, I ignored a cut on my foot which eventually turned into a full-blown infection. After a near-amputation, I realized that I needed to start focusing on my whole body. I know that if you can start focusing on your foot health, you can avoid troubling conditions so that you can enjoy your life.