When you have diabetes, it takes a lot to manage the disease. You must keep your glucose levels in check, adhere to a special diet, and maintain a healthy weight. You also need to take extra good care of your feet. You see, diabetes makes you more susceptible to foot complications. Even the smallest issue can turn into something far more serious, so it is important to check your feet daily. Early detection of diabetic foot problems is essential to maintaining a full and active life.
Don’t be Numb to it
Those with diabetes often suffer from nerve damage, or neuropathy. This reduces your ability to feel pain or extreme temperatures, and that means you could injure your foot without even being aware that anything is wrong. You could step on something sharp, or your shoe could be rubbing and causing a blister, and without you knowing it, a dangerous infection could set in. Daily inspections can catch a problem before it’s too late.
Say Good-bye to Dry
When the nerves that control oil and moisture in your feet are damaged, it can lead to dry skin that can crack and peel. This can invite infection, so it is important to keep your feet moisturized. Avoid applying lotion between your toes, however, since that is a place where bacteria can thrive.
Careful of Calluses
High-pressure areas on diabetic feet can result in a build-up of calluses. These can thicken, break down, and turn into ulcers. You should never try to cut them off yourself though, as you run the risk of cutting yourself, opening the door for infection. Never attempt to get rid of them with chemical agents either, because you could wind up burning your skin. It is best to have your podiatrist remove corns and calluses. To prevent them from occurring in the first place, smooth the pressure areas with a pumice stone after bathing, when your skin is still damp.
Watch Out for Wounds
Ulcers, or open sores, are an extremely dangerous diabetic foot problem, since your body has difficulty healing and fighting off infections. Left untreated, a wound such as this can easily become infected and lead to serious complications—even amputation. If you discover an ulcer on your foot, seek your podiatrist’s help. It will need to be cleaned, the dead tissue removed, and then dressed. You may have to stay off your feet or wear special shoes. To prevent recurring problems, be sure to always wear shoes and make certain that they fit.
Go with the Flow
Poor circulation can inhibit the healing process and impede your fight against infection. Unfortunately, when you have diabetes, it causes blood vessels in your feet to narrow and harden. For this reason, you need to counteract it by getting your blood flowing as much as possible. How? Well, first and foremost—exercise. Walking is an excellent way to increase your circulation, plus it helps control your weight, too! Also, make sure to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, and don’t smoke. If you are still experiencing poor circulation, you may be prescribed medication to help.
Dodge the Danger
The nerve damage and poor circulation associated with diabetes can make amputation more likely. This dangerous combination increases the chances of getting ulcers and infections, which can become too serious to treat. In addition, diabetic patients often have peripheral arterial disease which adds to the problem. This is why taking good care of your feet and checking them often is extremely important.
Learn more about diabetic foot problems and what you can do to prevent them by visiting Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, or Parker, CO. Call (303) 805-5156 to talk with Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen and the team. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.