An ingrown toenail or a blister would be a minor inconvenience for many individuals. It will be painful for specific days, but it will heal soon and disappear. Unfortunately, for diabetic people, the common problem of the foot can become severe. They can even result in amputation in severe cases.
Diabetes can damage your blood vessels and nerves. When there is damage to blood vessels, your feet do not receive enough oxygen and blood supply making it quite difficult for the wound to heal. Damage to your nerves can cause you to lose feeling in your foot. You might not feel warmth or cold in your feet. Even a cut or a blister will not make you feel any pain until it turns into a diabetic foot ulcer.
Over one in 10 have diabetes in the USA, and 1 in 3 is prediabetic. With best practices, prevention, and early treatment, the problem can be resolved before it becomes more serious. However, it doesn’t mean if you have diabetes, you will develop foot problems as well.
If you or any of your loved ones have diabetes, learn more about foot complications and how to prevent them.
How You Get Diabetic Foot?
Unstable or high blood sugar levels can cause the arteries to change, resulting in choking off and damaging nerves. It is known as diabetic neuropathy. Initially, it feels like a pins-and-needles or tingling sensation, then burning and ultimately numbness and lack of feeling in the foot.
Minor traumas such as callus or a blister result in diabetic foot ulcers. They generally appear under the bony pressure areas like the bottom of the foot or heel. A person who develops one of such ulcers on their foot would feel immense pain and walk differently. That person wears different shoes to avoid friction or additional pressure on it. However, a person with diabetic neuropathy will not feel that pain. They keep wearing the same shoes and walking on them as they usually do, turning them into more severe wounds.
Sad to say, often individuals with diabetic foot ulcers until the wound has reached its advanced stage and an infection has started to set in. They might not have experienced the pain then, but the infection makes them sick, causing redness or swelling in the leg, chills, or fever as well.
You can prevent getting to this point by practicing simple foot care techniques, being super careful about your feet, and seeing your health care provider as early as the problem starts to develop.
How to Take Care of Your Feet When You Have Diabetes?
Every person has a tendency to ignore small signs. Nobody wants to run to the doctor for something so small and silly. However, problems with your feet are never minor, especially when you have diabetes.
Diabetic patients will see a podiatrist once a year in a perfect situation. During such exams, the doctor will assess your blood supply and check for any damage to the nerves. They also evaluate the risk and customize a protection plan that will help you get foot blisters or ulcers in the first place. Even if you are not having any issues, never skip your annual checkup. Instead, it is advised to see your doctor regularly and when you have a minor wound rather than rushing to the emergency room with a severe issue.
Besides visiting your doctor every year, follow some of the simple foot care tips mentioned below:
Keep a Check on Your Feet
Check your feet every day. Inspect for ingrown nails, blisters, sores, cuts, swelling, or redness. If you are not able to see the bottom of your feet, then use a mirror. And if you notice anything susceptible, regardless of how small it is, visit your doctor without delay.
Wear Diabetic Shoes
Wear sensible shoes. They have shoes especially for people with diabetes. Find the pair that fits your foot type and allow even pressure distribution on foot. Choose the materials that allow your feet to breathe, such as canvas or leather. You are advised to avoid wearing high heels and pointed toes.
Wear Socks & Shoes All the Time
Never walk barefoot. Keep wearing shoes and socks at all times, even when you are at your home. This helps to prevent injuries to your foot.
Keep Your Feet Moisturized
Keep the skin of your foot moisturized. Your feet soles contain more sweat glands as compared to other parts of your body. Besides, the soles of your feet excrete as much as half a pint of moisture every day. But, diabetic people tend to sweat less in their feet, so there are chances they may experience more cracking, dry skin. It can be managed by applying moisturizer regularly to your feet at least once or twice a day.
Trim Your Toenails
Always keep your toenails trimmed and clean. It is imperative to keep your nails short and clean to avoid infections. If you can’t reach your feet, take help from your podiatrist or family member to trim them for you.
How to Treat Diabetic Foot Problems?
Treatment of diabetic foot depends on the severity of the wound. Doctors can also recommend various procedures to prevent further problems. Foot ulcers that have been detected early can be taken care of with the following methods:
It includes cleaning the wound and removing the unhealthy tissue to grow fresh and healthy tissue.
Topical Wound Care
In this, your doctor will prescribe you proper medication to keep the wound clean to stimulate healing.
It includes doing something to take the pressure off the location of the wound, such as a cast, special shoes, a wheelchair, or crutches. Perhaps, it is the most crucial step because once you take the pressure off the wound, they have the tendency to heal very quickly.
Diabetes care does not stop at controlling blood sugar levels, and it goes beyond that. If you or your loved one has diabetes, get in the habit of scheduling regular checkups, practicing proper foot care, and seeking treatment for issues to prevent severe diabetic foot complications such as amputation.
If you need any medical item or medicines regarding diabetes or diabetic foot, Medomand offers home delivery of a range of medical supplies.