People with diabetes are susceptible to developing various foot problems.
These are mostly caused by neuropathy or damage of the nerves.
They can also be caused by poor blood flow and changes in the feet’s shape.
The damage causes burning, stinging, and a tingling sensation.
In some cases, the damage leads to foot weakness and numbness.
Sometimes, diabetics notice foot problems that seem mild and harmless and just shrug it off.
Other diabetics hardly notice anything with regards to their feet due to the numbing caused by nerve damage.
If left untreated, these foot problems can worsen and lead to much more serious conditions.
The following are the potential foot problems caused by diabetes:
Poor Blood Flow
Poor blood circulation reduces your foot’s ability to fight different infections and can slow down healing.
Having diabetes can narrow blood vessels inside the foot and leg area.
In severe cases, the blood vessels not only become narrow but also harden.
This results in poor blood circulation around the said areas.
If you already have diabetes, it is best to avoid unhealthy habits like smoking.
Smoking increases the chances of artery hardening and makes the process even faster.
Consult your doctor and seek medical advice as to how you can keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels normal.
When your feet feel cold, do not warm them using heating pads or warm water.
Since your feet may feel numb due to poor blood circulation, they may not recognize heat.
As a result, diabetics overlook the heatings pads or warm compress and leave it on longer than intended, causing burns or even worse.
Instead of using any warm material, use thick and cozy socks to help warm your feet up.
Many diabetics experience pain in the calf whenever they’re walking briskly, walking on a solid ground, or walking up the stairs.
This condition is referred to as intermittent claudication.
When it attacks, take a quick break from walking and rest until the pain ends.
If you have intermittent claudication, quitting smoking is a must.
Consult a medical professional and ask them to refer you to a program that can resolve the issue.
Mild cases can be resolved by taking proper medication.
But in most cases, exercise is necessary.
Exercising stimulates fluid blood flow and improves overall blood circulation.
Foot ulcers usually occur in the lower part of your big toe or on the padded/ball portion of your soles.
Symptoms similar to that of foot ulcers may also be observed on the sides of your feet, but it’s mostly due to tight footwear.
Foot ulcers do not exactly cause significant pain, but it should still be treated right away.
Neglecting foot ulcers may lead to a serious infection, which can result in further complications.
Neglected foot ulcers often result in limb amputation.
Treatments and solutions vary depending on the severity of the foot ulcer.
Your doctor may subject you to x-rays and other tests to see if your foot’s bone is affected by the infection.
Afterward, you will undergo another test to figure out what kind of infection caused your ulcer.
Then, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic that best matches your condition.
For diabetics who have foot ulcers, it is best to stay off your feet for a short period.
Walking on a foot affected with ulcer can enlarge the infection and force it to go deeper into the foot.
You may be provided with a special foot brace or cast that’s specifically tailored for such cases.
Controlling your blood sugar level is crucial to healing your foot ulcer.
If your blood sugar is fluctuating, seek medical advice.
During recovery mode, you will be asked to wear a pair of special shoes to keep the area protected.
Diabetics are more prone to developing calluses.
Calluses develop faster in people with diabetes due to high-pressure at the soles of the feet.
Excessive callus buildup may require diabetics to wear therapeutic footwear.
If left untrimmed, calluses can become very thick and crack into open sores.
The open sores can then develop into infections and foot ulcers.
Do not attempt to trim calluses on your own, leave the job to medical professionals.
Patients who tried trimming their own calluses ended up contracting an even worse condition.
You may rub your calluses against a pumice stone during a bath.
Do not be harsh and only do it when your feet are wet.
Make sure to moisturize the area afterward.
Changes In Your Skin
Diabetes can alter the appearance of your foot’s skin.
Oftentimes, the skin becomes extremely dry.
As a result, the skin becomes scaly, peels, and then breaks down.
This is due to the nerve damage caused by diabetes.
The nerves responsible for foot moisture no longer functions as it normally would.
To combat this, always keep the affected area moisturized.
After taking a bath, immediately apply a thin layer of unscented foot moisturizers/creams, petroleum jelly, or even a regular body lotion.
This secures and seals whatever moisture is left from the bath.
Avoid applying products between your toe fingers.
Do not soak your feet in water. This can dehydrate your skin and further aggravate the skin.
Albeit sometimes painful, nerve damage by diabetes can reduce your ability to recognize and feel pain.
Numbness of the feet means you may fail to acknowledge if your foot has contracted an injury.
You may also neglect any form of damage.
For example, you could step on a shard of glass or a piece of stone and not feel any pain.
Overlooking such injuries can result in a serious foot infection.
Neuropathy can also alter the shape of your feet.
If you have deformed feet due to diabetes, you may be subjected to wearing therapeutic footwear.
It is very common in people with diabetes to experience limb amputations.
Diabetics have blood circulation problems, nerve damages, and numbness in the feet and leg area.
Altogether, these issues result in foot infections that when left untreated, become so serious that it requires amputation.
Limb amputations can be prevented with regular and consistent care and appropriate footwear.
This is why it is imperative to take extra care with of your feet, especially if you have diabetes.
For diabetics who smoke, quitting is a must.
It will only worsen your condition and ultimately lead to an infection.
It is worth noting that most diabetics who are subjected to amputation of the limb are smokers.