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HOW CAN DIABETES AFFECT THE FEET?

HOW CAN DIABETES AFFECT THE FEET?

Have you heard of diabetes and diabetic foot examination? Yes, foot problems are common in people with diabetes. Perhaps you’re afraid of losing a toe, a foot or a leg, or maybe you know someone who has been through that. However, you can reduce the likelihood of having problems with your feet with good daily foot care. Controlling blood glucose levels (blood sugar) along with proper diabetic foot treatment can also help keep your feet healthy.

How can diabetes affect the feet?

Over time, diabetes can cause nerve damage, which is also known as diabetic neuropathy, which can cause pain and a tingling sensation and can make you lose responsiveness in your feet. When you lose that consciousness in your feet, you may not feel a pebble in your sock or a blister on your foot, which can cause cuts and sores. Cuts and wounds can become infected.

Proper foot care is essential to prevent severe infections and gangrene.

Diabetes can also decrease the amount of blood flow in the feet. If you do not have enough blood flow in your legs or feet, it is harder for a sore or infection to heal. Sometimes, severe disease cannot be cured. The infection can cause gangrene. If gangrene and foot ulcers do not improve with diabetic foot ulcer treatment, you can amputate the toe, foot, or part of the leg. A surgeon can do an amputation to prevent a severe infection from passing to the rest of the body, which could save your life.

 What is Charcot’s foot?

Although it does not happen often, nerve damage from diabetes can cause deformation of the feet, such as Charcot’s foot. Charcot foot can start with redness, warmth and swelling. Then, the bones and toes begin to move or break, which causes the foot to take on a strange shape, like the “clubfoot”. The foot of Charcot presents a widening of the sole in a rounded shape. Charcot’s foot can make the foot take a strange shape, like the “clubfoot”.

What can I do to keep my feet healthy?

Maybe you have foot problems and do not feel pain.  Examine your feet every day to find problems at an early stage before the issues get worse. An excellent way to remember it is by checking your feet every night when you take off your shoes. Also, check the area between the toes. If you find it difficult to bend to see your feet, try using a mirror or ask someone to review them. Work with your health care team or check out diabetic foot ulcer home treatments to create a personal diabetes care plan, which consists of an action plan on how to manage diabetes. The program must include foot care. A podiatrist (foot specialist) and other specialists can be part of your health care team. You can also ask your podiatrist for diabetic foot ulcer treatment antibiotics.

Last but not least: Wash your feet every day

Wash your feet with warm water (not hot) and soap. Feel the temperature of the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use the elbow or a thermometer between 32 C and 35 C to feel the temperature of the water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will dry out. If you want to get a pedicure in a salon, you must bring your nail tools to avoid getting an infection. You can ask your health care team about other steps you can take in the room to prevent disease.

Include these steps in your foot care plan:

  • Check your feet every day.
  • Wash your feet every day.
  • Gently rinse calluses and corns.
  • Cut your toenails in a straight line.
  • Always wear shoes and socks.
  • Protect your feet from heat and cold.
  • Help maintain blood flow in the feet.
  • Ask to have your feet checked at each medical visit.

Watch for problems such as: 

  • Cuts, sores or red spots.
  • Swelling or blisters with fluid.
  • Ingrown nails, when the edges of the nails grow buried in the skin.
  • Corns and calluses, which are circular lesions of hardened skin caused by too much friction or pressure in the same place.
  • Plantar warts, which are flesh-colored growths on the soles of the feet.
  • Athlete’s foot.
  • Hot areas on the feet.
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