One of the leading complications of diabetes is foot issues. Behind every problem, there is a logical explanation as to why, how, and what can be done to resolve it. Let’s take a look at diabetic foot ailments together.
What Causes Foot Problems in Diabetics?
Unlike people without diabetes or those without the risk of diabetes, diabetics are susceptible to foot issues. Diabetes, especially when not controlled well, attacks the nervous system.When the nerves in your feet are damaged, you may develop the inability to feel pain, or even a hypersensitivity to pain. This condition is known as sensory diabetic neuropathy.
Aside from nerve disorders, diabetics also suffer from a lack of blood flow. This means that it will take longer for cuts on the body, especially the feet, to heal. This disease in diabetics is known as peripheral vascular disease. It can direct blood flow away from the diabetic’s heart.
What Foot Problems are Caused by Diabetes?
Along with the two diabetic exclusive diseases, diabetics suffer from various other foot problems.
One common problem is athlete’s foot. This is a fungus on the feet that causes burning, itching, and cracking skin. When the skin cracks, bacteria can enter through the cracks and build an infection. Another infection diabetics can suffer from is toe nail fungus. When the nails become thick, fragile, and discolored, this can cause the nails to fall off.
Though simple and relatively harmless, calluses (or hardened skin) are often seen in diabetics. But in those with diabetes it can be caused by a misdistribution of weight due to the fact that they have less sensitivity in their feet. The same can be said for corns and bunions.
A foot ulcer happens when a deep sore becomes infected on the foot. Ten percent of diabetics will develop foot ulcers at some point in their lives due to the lack of feeling in the nerves of their feet.
Hammertoes can occur when a weak muscle makes tissue in the tendon shorter. When this happens, the toes will curl under one’s feet. In general, it is caused by genetics or shoes that are too small.
Plantar warts may appear to be calluses upon first glance, but with little black spots covering them. But unlike calluses, these are caused by an infection under the skin.
What can You Do to Treat Foot Problems in Diabetics?
There are many things one can do to prevent foot problems as well as treat them, but diabetics must take extra care when treating any condition. Here are the easiest ways to prevent foot problems as a diabetic:
- Exercise, eat right, and follow your doctor’s instructions to care for your diabetes
- Never soak your feet, but wash them every day with warm water and dry them very well
- Inspect your feet every day as you may not feel an infection growing
- If you have dry skin, put medically-approved lotion on your feet
- After showering, use a pumice stone on your foot to prevent calluses and other build-ups
- Keep your nails trimmed
- Do not wear flip-flops or sandals
- Wear socks that are non-constricting
- Make sure your shoes fit well
- Don’t stay seated for too long, get up and move your feet around
- Don’t smoke
Consult your doctor if you have any problems and remember to always do as s/he says. Your diabetes will only be as well-maintained as the effort you put forth to keep it in check!