Diabetes is an insidious disease that casts a wide net when it comes to your overall health and wellness. From eyesight problems to nerve damage in your feet, the disease can wreak havoc from head to toe.
As podiatric specialists, the team here at Foot Care Specialists, PC, under the guidance of Dr. Marshall L. Lukoff, is largely concerned with diabetic neuropathy and the potentially irreversible nerve damage in your feet that can stem from diabetes. It’s for this reason that we offer comprehensive diabetic foot care to our patients in Quincy and Dedham, Massachusetts, with the goal of preventing, or slowing down, peripheral neuropathy to keep you one step ahead of your diabetes.
As part of our oversight, we believe that education is critical, which is why we’ve pulled together the following information on diabetes and the effect it can have on your feet.
Why the feet?
If you’re diabetic, you probably already know that the biggest threat is your inability to regulate the levels of glucose in your blood. Whether you’re not producing enough insulin or you’ve developed insulin resistance, the bottom line is that without this glucose-regulating hormone, your blood sugar can stay dangerously high in your blood vessels.
As a result, your circulation may not be functioning properly, which is especially true the farther you get from your heart — and your feet are about as far from your heart as you can go. If your blood flow is compromised by diabetes, your feet aren’t getting the resources they need for optimal health, which can lead to peripheral nerve damage called neuropathy.
Know the signs
One of the most important things you can do for your health when you have diabetes is to understand the early warning signs, giving you enough time to take action before you incur irreversible damage. Research shows that about half of people with diabetes have some degree of peripheral neuropathy, especially as they grow older.
Now, we’re not trying to scare you unnecessarily, but you should be aware that if left unchecked, diabetic neuropathy can lead to amputation, which is why we want you to be extremely vigilant for any signs of neuropathy, which include:
- Tingling and numbness in your feet
- Unexplained pain in your feet and lower legs
- Loss of coordination or weakness
- Sores or ulcers that don’t heal
- Heightened sensitivity in your feet
You know your body best, so if you’re experiencing anything different in your feet, even if it doesn’t fall under the list above, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and have us check it out.
If we diagnose neuropathy, there are steps we can take to slow, and sometimes reverse, the condition by better regulating your glucose levels and recommending a few lifestyle changes, such as exercise, diet, and weight loss.
Prevention is key
As with most health issues, prevention is the best way to tackle the complications that can arise from diabetes. We recommend that you make inspecting your feet a part of your daily routine in order to check for any problems — even the slightest cut can cause major issues if infection takes hold.
In addition to inspecting your feet, you should also:
- Wash and thoroughly dry your feet every day
- Wear clean and dry socks at all times
- Wear comfortable shoes with plenty of room for your toes
- Trim your toenails straight across
You should also make regular visits to us here so that we can monitor your feet and catch any problems before they blossom into something more major.
Together, we can manage your foot care, allowing you to maintain a healthy and active life long into the future despite your diabetes. Just give us a call to get started or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.