Diabetes is a disease that afflicts the body as a whole, attacking various parts with specific symptoms. The feet commonly fall victim to this illness, which can result in several different types of complications. With the proper care and attentive monitoring, the chance of patients developing the more dangerous symptoms greatly diminishes.
A common effect from diabetes is nerve damage and unfortunately, this typically happens in the feet. Whenever there is nerve damage in the body, sensation perception levels drop dramatically. As a result, the risk of serious injury to the affected area is much greater as patients are not able to feel harm to their feet. A simple break in the skin can turn into a dangerous infection because it has gone un-noticed and left un-treated.
Diabetes attacks the bloodstream by narrowing the blood vessels leading to decreased circulation throughout the body. When you have poor circulation, you are not able to fight off infections as efficiently, which leads to more dangerous results from wounds and ulcers. Combined with neuropathy, poor circulation in the feet can be especially dangerous. If both ailments are present, the risk of severe infection is increased with extreme cases leading to foot amputation.
Diabetics often experience very dry skin on their feet, sometimes leading to peeling, deep cracks in the skin, or calluses. Nerve damage is often the culprit for these skin condition changes. When a patient experiences nerve damage in their feet, the nerves located there are no longer able to monitor the oils on the feet to keep them moisturized properly. Lack of moisturizing can lead to the skin drying out severely. This ailment is particularly alarming for diabetic patients as cracks in the skin can result in threatening and aggressive infections.
How should I care for my diabetic feet?
If you have diabetes, it is especially important to monitor the condition of your feet and care for them properly. Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM suggests the following precautions to supply suitable care for your feet:
- Invest in shoes that fit correctly – shoes that fit properly are one of the greatest defense mechanisms for your feet against wounds that could result in infection
- Cleanliness – keeping feet clean and dry is vital in preventing a bacterial invasion that could potentially lead to more serious afflictions
- Stop smoking – smoking is commonly responsible for causing blood vessels to narrow, thus contributing to a decrease in blood flow which can worsen neuropathy and increase the risk of infection
- Exercise – whether you have diabetes or not, a regular exercising routine is crucial in keeping up your health. For the diabetic, it is especially important as frequent movement in the feet helps to increase blood flow.
- Foreign objects – be very careful when using tools for trimming the toenails and other grooming tasks. Make sure that the items you are using are clean, especially if you are using them after someone else as bacteria can easily spread this way.
One of the most important things that can be done regarding diabetic foot health is to have your feet regularly examined by a podiatrist. Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM is an expert at examining and properly treating diabetic feet. The entire staff at Foot Care Specialists, PC prides itself on providing excellent foot care for those living in the greater Boston area.
If you are a diabetic questioning the health of your feet, contact our office today. Call 855-FIT-FEET (855-348-3338) to set up an appointment or schedule one online.
Left Photo Credit: dabamic via pixabay.com/Middle Photo Credit: Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net