If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it means your body doesn’t process sugar in the way that’s expected. Diabetes can impact your body in some surprising ways, especially your feet.
A diagnosis of diabetes means you need to pay extra attention to and take special care of your feet to ensure they stay healthy. Thomas Nguyen, MD, from Nguyen Medical Group in Boynton Beach, Florida, shares more about the important link between diabetes and your fee, and what diabetics need to know about foot care.
Diabetes and feet: what is the connection?
The glucose regulation problems you develop with diabetes can have some serious consequences for your feet. This most commonly has the potential to affect your feet in two ways: nerve damage and reduced flow of blood to your feet.
Nerve damage in your feet
Diabetes can cause nerve damage, which makes it harder to feel sensations in the area that’s been damaged. Nerve damage in your feet, which is a common consequence of diabetes, means you can develop a condition called diabetic neuropathy.
With diabetic neuropathy, you experience fewer sensations in your feet, which means you feel less pain or feelings of cold or heat in your feet. This makes it harder to feel when your feet are injured or have sores, or can cause you to stand on your feet in ways that cause misalignment or injuries.
Reduced blood flow to your feet
You can develop a condition called peripheral vascular disease with diabetes, which makes it harder for blood to flow to your extremities, including your feet. The reduced blood flow makes it more difficult for your body to heal open wounds and cuts, lengthening the healing process.
Especially when combined with nerve damage in your feet, this increases your risk of having cuts become infected and getting ulcers or gangrene in your feet.
Caring for your feet with diabetes
Having diabetes means you need to pay close attention to your feet every day. It’s important to pay special care to ensure you avoid developing potentially very serious problems in your feet that can lead to serious deformities or amputation.
Dr. Nguyen recommends taking the following regular foot care steps if you have diabetes:
Establish a daily foot care routine
Every day, wash your feet with warm water and carefully pat them dry. This reduces your risk of developing infections and complications.
Once you have dried your feet, prevent potential injuries by covering your feet with petroleum jelly and non medicated powder. If needed, trim your toenails while your nails are still soft, taking care to cut your toenails straight across to minimize the risk of developing ingrown toenails.
Check your feet regularly
As or after you you wash and dry your feet, carefully check them for cuts, sores, blisters, cracks, or fungus. You’ll also want to keep your eye out for calluses, corns, ingrown toenails, or any signs of infection, such as areas of red skin or areas that feel warm or tender to the touch.
If you notice a blister on your foot, avoid popping it. Instead, protect it with a bandage, and don’t wear any footwear or do activities that might make it worse.
If you find a callused area, you can carefully smooth it out with a pumice stone. However, avoid cutting your cuticles, as this can cause cuts and sores.
Choose your footwear carefully
Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and socks protects your feet from developing cuts and injuries. Whenever possible, avoid going barefoot and open-toed and heeled shoes and sandals that increase exposure and risk to your feet.
Furthermore, don’t wear shoes with pointed toes or high heels. Look for shoes that fit properly, protect your foot, provide strong support, and have no rough areas that might cause injury.
A good pair of socks is also important. Wear socks that are comfortably loose, made of natural fibers, and don’t have seams that could irritate your feet. Consider buying socks made especially for diabetics.
Seek medical care when you notice problems
If you notice potential foot problems, don’t delay medical care if you have diabetes. Make an appointment at Nguyen Medical Group if you notice any problems with your feet that concern you, including infections, ulcers, cuts that aren’t healing, or feet that feel numb or more painful than previously.
Our medical team can also regularly check your feet to ensure you don’t develop any additional complications.
Diabetes can put your feet at risk, but by controlling your diabetes and taking care of your feet, you can continue to be active and have healthy feet with diabetes. To make an appointment to discuss your diabetes, request an appointment now.