Be Wary Of Symptoms And Signs Of Foot Problems
Diabetes patients must educate themselves about their condition to be aware of the early warning signs of various foot problems. Let us look at some common ones:
- Yellowing and thickening of toenails
- Loss of hair on lower legs, feet, and toes
- Changes to the feets color
- Change in the feet shape
- Losing sensation to touch, cold, or heat
- Painful, tingling, or burning feet
It would be in your best interest you call your doctor if you notice these sometimes. Delaying things could result in severe health complications. Following these tips can help prevent major foot problems. As discussed earlier, high blood sugar levels can lead to circulation problems and nerve damage. Untreated or unnoticed, ingrown toenails, sores, cuts, and bruises could lead to gangrene and other infections.
Inadequate circulation could massively slow down your recovery and cause your foots tissue and skin to turn black and die. Doctors may amputate a part of your leg, foot, or toe to prevent it from spreading.
Why Is Proper Foot Care Important For Patients With Diagnosed Diabetes
When a person gets diagnosed with diabetes he or she must accept the fact that the disease itself is a lifelong condition. Diabetes symptoms can be regulated and suppressed, but the diseases itself cannot be reverted or cured permanently. With type 1 diabetes the body is unable to produce insulin due to the damaged pancreas. With type 2 diabetes the body can produce insulin but is unable to properly process and use it. Insulin is used to regulate blood sugar. Having too high or too low blood sugar is considered dangerous and may lead to serious problems and in extreme cases also to death.
There is a type of diabetes that is only temporary and that is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. Often case a woman diagnosed with type 3 diabetes also develops type 2 diabetes later in life.
Foot Care For People With Diabetes
All people with diabetes should have their feet checked at least once a year by a doctor or podiatrist. This is important to detect problems early and to prevent ulcers and other complications. You may have heard it said that diabetes causes gangrene . Most cases of gangrene result from delayed treatment of foot injuries.
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Keep Your Feet Dry To Reduce The Risk Of Infection
Make sure that drying your feet is part of your hygiene routine. The space between the toes is very airtight, says Tillett. Skin gets moist and breaks down, leading to infection. Prevent this by toweling off thoroughly after washing your feet and by removing wet or sweaty socks or shoes immediately. As mentioned previously, you can still use moisturizer to prevent dry, cracked skin just avoid putting it between your toes.
Why Is Foot Care Important
The presence of high blood glucose levels over a long period of time may result in a condition called diabetic neuropathy or loss of circulation in the extremities of the body.
If the nerves in your feet or legs are damaged, your feet can lose sensation and become numb.
It is relatively common for people with diabetes to not feel foot problems until they have developed, therefore it is key to ensure you have regular foot examinations
Diabetic foot complications include:
Why Amputation Instead Of Salvaging The Limb
People with diabetes have higher chances of experiencing Peripheral Artery Disease , which causes the blood vessels to narrow and reduce blood flow to the lower limbs. The majority of those who had to undergo amputation surgery had PAD.
Furthermore, PAD is known to cause peripheral neuropathya condition that prevents a person from feeling pain.
Without the ability to feel pain, most people with diabetes fail to detect the presence of a wound on their feet. And without proper treatment, the wound or ulcer could get infected.
Since PAD reduces blood flow, it also slows down wound healing, making it harder for the body to fight infection. Because of this, wounds and ulcers may not heal, which eventually leads to tissue damage or gangrene. If the infection spreads to the bone and cannot be stopped, amputation becomes necessary.
Why Taking Care Of Your Feet Is Important For People With Diabetes
Charles Marchese, M.D. contributes to topics such as Podiatry.
Most people with diabetes understand that proper nutrition is a major component of staying healthy, but did you know that taking care of your feet can also help you avoid complications down the road?
Around 34 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. 1 in 4 people with diabetes will experience a foot ulcer. 40% of people with a healed diabetic foot ulcer will develop a new ulcer within a year. 15% of diabetic foot ulcers progress to amputation.* The best way to not become a statistic is prevention and with early intervention, complications can be avoided, says Charles Marchese, M.D., a podiatrist at the Wound Center at Bayshore Medical Center.
It is important that you schedule one to two visits with your podiatrist every year and discuss nutrition and foot care options that can increase wound healing. A few minutes spent focusing on proper nutrition and foot maintenance can go a long way as you try to recover.
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Treatment For Foot Ulcers
A foot ulcer that only involves the top layers of skin can be treated with wound care under your doctors guidance.
- Your doctor, or a wound specialist, will clean out the ulcer and remove dead skinthe procedure is called debridement. The ulcer will be covered with a dressing that youll change once or twice a day.
- If your foot is infected, you will need to take antibiotics.
- Elevate the feet when sitting or lying downyou want to do your best to keep weight off of it.
A foot ulcer that involves deeper layers may require surgical treatment to remove infected or dead tissue.
Why Foot Care Is Important For People With Diabetes
Certified diabetes educator Becky Wells recently retired from working with a diabetes self-management education program at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas. She has shared her Ask the Diabetes Educator advice columns from that program with Insulin Nation.
Question: Why is foot care mentioned so much in diabetes management? I dont have any problems with my feet, and it seems like a waste of time to keep looking at them.
Answer:Some 25 percent of all diabetes-related hospital visits are because of foot issues. It can be hard to avoid all medical issues related to diabetes, but this is one area of your self-care where effort and vigilance is likely to pay off with better health outcomes.
People with diabetes are at risk for lower-extremity amputations. Its estimated that about 15 percent of people with diabetes will develop a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime, and 85 percent of non-accident lower-extremity amputations are preceded by a foot ulcer.
Foot issues arise because of damage to fine blood vessels in the feet caused by high blood sugar levels. Diabetes may cause the nerves of your feet to deaden to trauma or stress this stress can come from a sharp object on the ground to new shoes rubbing against your heels. Diabetes can also lead to decreased blood flow to the feet and deformities such as hammertoes, claw toes, foot ulcers, and calluses.
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Diabetic Foot Care Check List
Use the checklist below to help with your vital daily foot care.
- Check your feet each day for cuts or abrasions, corns, blisters, red patches and swellings. Also look for hard or cracked skin, sharp, snagged or ingrowing toenails and fungal infections.
- Wash feet in warm, not hot, water every day.
- Dry feet well. Be sure to dry between the toes. After drying, rub a thin coat of moisturising lotion over the tops and bottoms of feet, but not between toes to avoid any build up of moisture.
- Smooth corns and calluses gently with a pumice stone.
- Trim toenails straight across and smooth edges with an emery board.
- Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes and never walk barefoot.
- Protect feet from extreme temperatures and wear socks at night if feet are cold.
- Help circulation by putting feet up when sitting, wiggling toes about and moving ankles up and down for five minutes several times a day.
- Dont cross legs for long periods of time.
- Dont smoke.
- Be more active.
Finally to read a selection of articles of particular importance for people with diabetes, you can enter the term in the Search Box at the top of the page.
You can also sign up to our free newsletter, The Best of Friends by clicking on this link.
When Should I See My Health Care Provider About Foot Problems
- a cut, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not start to heal after a few days
- skin on your foot that becomes red, warm, or painfulsigns of a possible infection
- a callus with dried blood inside of it,which often can be the first sign of a wound under the callus
- a foot infection that becomes black and smellysigns you might have gangrene
Ask your provider to refer you to a foot doctor, or podiatrist, if needed.
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Preventing A Second Amputation
However, the outlook is not all grim. Lots of people with diabetes can mitigate their risk or even prevent amputation of their sound side with proper diabetic management, wound care, and regular foot care.
First, manage your blood sugar. This boils down to watching what you eat. Go for a healthy diet that includes lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Fiber is essential as it helps slow down the bodys absorption of sugar.
Make a conscious effort to reduce stress and exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Maintaining normal blood pressure and healthy weight is crucial. Also, check your blood sugar levels regularly and take your insulin.
Inspect Your Feet Every Day
Poorly fitting shoes, a strap that rubs, or long periods of walking or standing can cause minor injuries or make chapped skin crack. Many people with diabetes dont even notice minor injuries of this kind
Therefore, it is important to make sure your shoes fit properly and are comfortable to wear. If possible change your shoes two or three times a day to avoid clammy feet and pressure sores. Your feet will appreciate the difference
A small mirror can be a great help if you have difficulty inspecting all areas of your feet. If your eyesight is impaired, ask a friend or a member of your family to look for you.
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When Doing Footcare What To Look Out For On Your Feet As A Diabetic
Symptoms of neuronal disturbances on your feet
- A feeling of numbness
- Tendency to develop pressure sores and calluses on the heels and soles of the feet
Symptoms of circulatory disturbances on your feet as a diabetic
- Cold feet
- Pale or bluish skin, particularly on the toes and foot edges
- Pain and cramp in the calves when walking or climbing stairs
- Pain while lying down that is relieved by letting your feet hang on the bed
- Tendency for formation of small pressure sores, wounds or injuries on the heels, foot edges or toe tips
Symptoms of infections on feet of diabetics
- Foot odour, cracks, sores and itching between the toes
- Redness or discoloration of any kind
- Cracks in calloused skin that becomes infected, particularly on the heels
- Formation of blisters under callouses
- Swellings, particularly if one-sided
Why Is Footcare Important For Diabetics
Diabetic foot care is even more important than foot care for seniors without diabetes. If neglected, diabetics can develop foot problems that require serious medical intervention or even amputation. Thus, getting consistent foot care and controlling your diabetes is critical. Not everyone has the time or ability to follow through with their footcare needs. You can get foot care in Scarborough from iCare Home Health. In the meantime, learn about why footcare is so important.
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Why Taking Care Of Your Feet Is Important
Why take care of your feet? Feet are your bodys foundation, so keeping them healthy is vital to your overall health. Years of wear and tear can be hard on your feet. Overuse, shoes that dont fit properly and even genetics can lead to injuries and disorders of the foot that can greatly impact your mobility.
Diabetic Foot And Prevention
Diabetic foot is a serious complication of diabetes. For diabetic patients with diabetic foot the nerve damage, poor blood circulation and infection may lead to gangrene and amputation of the foot. Injuries, infections, inadequate foot care and inadequate pedicures increase the risk of such complications.
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Choose The Right Footwear
If nerve damage or neuropathy are the main reasons behind your foot sensitivity problems, you may overlook the bumps or cuts. However, you must wear shoes and socks to ensure your feet remain protected at all times.
- Choose a pair of well-fitting, comfortable shoes with sufficient room, particularly in the toe area. Avoid buying tight shoes, thinking they will become loose after stretching
- Plastic shoes are a big no-no as they do not have enough breathing room. Instead, choose a pair made from suede, canvas, or leather
- Avoid wearing high-heels, open or pointed toe footwear, flip-flops, and sandals
- Wear adjustable shoes with Velcro, buckles, or laces
- Thoroughly inspect your shoes for bumps and tears. You must do this every day to ensure your feet doesnt have to endure irritation or pressure
- Diabetes patients suffering from nerve damage should consider resting their feet or changing their shoes after three to four hours. It will help change pressure points and alleviate pain
- Consult your doctor if you experience recurring problems and ask him/her if you need special shoes
- Wear a pair of thick socks if your feet get cold in bed
- Wearing socks throughout the day will provide an extra layer of protection between your shoe and foot
Other Foot Issues To Be Aware Of
Hammertoes, bunions, dry skin, and abnormally shaped toenails can also lead to problems. After age 40, the average person will find that shoe size increases up to 1½ sizes. It’s important to have your feet measured annually. Wearing the wrong size shoe can cause severe damage for people with diabetes.
Learn about UMass Memorial Health Podiatry
This is an official Page of the UMass Chan Medical School
Diabetes Center of Excellence 368 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01655
Questions or Comments? Email: Phone: 774-455-3654
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Protect Your Feet From Hot And Cold
If you have nerve damage from diabetes, you may burn your feet and not know you did. Take the following steps to protect your feet from heat:
- Wear shoes at the beach and on hot pavement.
- Put sunscreen on the tops of your feet to prevent sunburn.
- Keep your feet away from heaters and open fires.
- Do not put a hot water bottle or heating pad on your feet.
Wear socks in bed if your feet get cold. In the winter, wear lined, waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry.
What Is Diabetic Foot Care
Make a list of the things you cannot control and the things that you canlike getting your blood glucose in a safe range, wearing proper shoes, checking feet each day , and seeing your doctor regularly. Youll find that the list of things you can influence is much longer than those you cannot. Dr. Dang
It is important to keep feet in good condition and catch potential problems as soon as possible. Small sores can quickly develop into serious ulcers.
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How To Avoid Injury To Feet With Damaged Nerves
- Wear appropriate shoes to protect your feet.
- Avoid injury by wearing well-fitting, protective shoes do not wear open-toed shoes.
- Keep toenails trimmed. Cut toenails along the shape of the toe and file rough edges.
- Have corns or calluses treated by a podiatrist.
- Check the temperature of your bath water with your elbow before stepping into the bath.
- Be careful not to put your feet too close to radiant heaters.
- Every six months, check for signs and symptoms that may indicate you have a problem. These may include reduced circulation or sensations, abnormal foot structure or poor hygiene.
How To Avoid Developing Peripheral Neuropathy From Diabetes
Estimates suggest roughly 60 to 70 percent of diabetics eventually develop some type of peripheral neuropathy. You may be able to avoid peripheral neuropathy by taking care of your feet every day. Some of the ways you can monitor your feet include:
- Washing your feet and properly drying them
Taking care of your feet ensures youll notice warning signs before they develop into more serious problems. The body isnt able to naturally heal nerve damage, which means diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy cannot be reversed, even if youre able to reverse your type 2 diabetes by losing weight and living a healthier life.
If you have diabetes, you should get the blood flow of your feet checked by a podiatrist at least once a year to detect any suspected nerve damage. However, the only way to effectively prevent peripheral neuropathy is to properly manage your diabetes.
Diabetes management means controlling your blood sugar levels with a healthy diet, exercise and taking any prescribed medications. Diabetics who are overweight, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or drink and smoke are also highly susceptible to diabetic neuropathy. Avoiding those bad habits and managing weight is effective in preventing damage and reducing the risk of needing amputation.
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