If you have diabetes, then you know that it can cause several health problems. One of those problems is foot problems. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop foot ulcers than people without diabetes. That’s why it’s so important for people with diabetes to take care of their feet. We will discuss the causes of foot problems in people with diabetes and what you can do to prevent them, as well as the symptoms of foot problems in people with diabetes and how to treat them. So if you have diabetes, be sure to read on for valuable information!
How Diabetes Causes Foot Problems
There are two main ways that diabetes can cause foot problems. First, diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet. This is called diabetic neuropathy and it can cause a loss of feeling in your feet. You might not feel a pebble inside your sock or you might not feel a blister developing on your foot. This can lead to minor injuries becoming major problems because you don’t realize you have injured yourself. Because of this, wearing nano socks is really important for people with diabetes. The second way that diabetes can cause foot problems is by affecting the blood flow to your feet. Diabetes can narrow and harden the arteries that carry blood to your feet (this is called peripheral arterial disease). This reduced blood flow means that wounds on your feet heal more slowly and are more likely to become infected.
What You Can Do to Prevent Foot Problems
The best way to prevent foot problems is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. This will help to reduce the risk of both diabetic neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease. In addition, you can take the following steps to prevent foot problems:
- Inspect your feet every day for cuts, scrapes, blisters, redness, or swelling.
- Wash your feet every day with mild soap and warm water.
- Dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Trim your toenails regularly and file down sharp edges.
- Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
- Don’t walk barefoot, even indoors.
If you have diabetes, it’s also important to see your doctor or podiatrist (a foot specialist) at least once a year for a foot exam. During the exam, your doctor will check for signs of nerve damage, circulation problems, and other foot problems.
The Symptoms of Foot Problems
Several different foot problems can occur in people with diabetes. These include ulcers, infections, Charcot feet, and diabetic dermopathy. Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Ulcers: An ulcer is a sore on the skin that does not heal. Ulcers can occur on the toes, soles of the feet, or anywhere on the foot. They usually develop where there is a callus or bunion. Ulcers can be painful or painless.
- Infections: Foot infections can occur in any open sore, such as an ulcer. The infection can spread quickly, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as you notice any signs of an infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.
- Charcot feet: Charcot feet are a condition in which the bones in the feet break down due to loss of sensation. This can cause the foot to change shape and become deformed. Charcot feet are a serious condition that can lead to amputation if it’s not treated.
- Diabetic dermopathy: Diabetic dermopathy is a skin condition that can cause dark, scaly patches on the skin. It usually occurs on the legs and it’s more common in people with diabetes who also have peripheral arterial disease.
How to Treat Foot Problems
If you have any of the foot problems we’ve listed above, it’s important to see your doctor right away. They will be able to diagnose the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Treatment for foot problems can vary depending on the severity of the problem, but it may include antibiotics, surgery, or orthotics (devices that support and protect the feet). In some cases, foot problems can be prevented by taking good care of your feet and managing your diabetes. However, if you do develop a foot problem, it’s important to see your doctor right away so that they can treat the problem before it gets worse.
Treating Diabetes to Prevent Foot Problems
If you have diabetes, the best way to prevent foot problems is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. This can be done through a combination of diet, exercise, and medication.
- Diet: Eating a healthy diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help to control blood sugar levels.
- Exercise: Exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity and can also help to control weight.
- Medication: If diet and exercise alone are not enough to control blood sugar levels, medication may be necessary. There are a variety of different medications that can be used to treat diabetes, so it’s important to work with your doctor to find one that is right for you.
Monitoring Your Feet
Even if you don’t have any foot problems, it’s important to inspect your feet every day. This will help you to catch any problems early so that they can be treated before they become serious. To inspect your feet use a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet, then look for cuts, scrapes, blisters, redness, or swelling, feel for any lumps or bumps, and inspect your toenails and look for any changes in color or shape. If you notice any changes in your feet, make an appointment to see your doctor or podiatrist right away.
Foot problems are a common complication of diabetes. However, there are steps you can take to prevent them. And if you do develop a foot problem, it’s important to see your doctor so that it can be treated before it becomes serious. So, to recap, the key points to remember about foot problems and diabetes are that foot problems are more common in people with diabetes, the best way to prevent foot problems is to keep your blood sugar levels under control, and if you notice any changes in your feet, make an appointment to see your doctor right away.