Can you tell if you have diabetes or not? The early symptoms would include too much glucose level in your blood. You may even not notice the warning signs which is true especially in case of type 2 diabetes. However, too much glucose in the blood for a long period of time can result in some complications that include foot problems. The blood circulation gets affected which leads to diabetic neuropathy that can damage the extremities in a diabetic patient. It is therefore vital for diabetic patients to take care of their feet. Basic foot wounds and ulcers can lead to great problems if not treated properly within the time frame.
Diabetic neuropathy is uncontrolled diabetes where your nerves are damaged. If you have such damaged nerves then you may not feel the heat, pain and cold. Such is termed as sensory diabetic neuropathy. If there is a cut or sore in your feet, then you might not feel it and it may become infected. You might also see that the muscles are not functioning properly. This can also result in too much pressure in one foot as the foot cannot align properly. According to estimates, almost 10% of people are likely to develop foot ulcers due to nerve damage and peripheral vascular disease.
Peripheral vascular disease: Diabetes tends to affect the flow of blood and without proper blood flow, it takes more time for a sore or cut to heal properly. Such a condition of poor blood flow is termed as a peripheral vascular disease. The blood vessels are directed away from the heart.
Here are some common foot problems with diabetes:
Anyone and everyone is susceptible to foot problems, however, for people with diabetes, the common foot problems can even result in amputation.
- Athletes foot: This is a fungus and if it develops then you might see a crack, redness and feel the need to itch frequently. A doctor can guide you with proper medication in such a condition.
- Blisters: Blisters tend to develop when your shoes rub the same spot on your foot. Ill-fitting shoes or the non-usage of socks while wearing shoes can result in the development of blisters. You must not pop the blisters and instead, you can use anti-bacterial cream to protect the skin from infection.
- Corns: Corns are a hard skin can build up near the bony area of a toe and this results from the rubbing of shoes and your feet as well as the friction between your toes. Just use a pumice stone to remove the build-up of tissue.
- Calluses: Due to the uneven distribution of weight, hard-skin builds up, especially on the underside of the foot. This may also take place when you wear ill-fitting shoes. You must, however, note that some percent of callus formation is normal. Proper care is required if some calluses develop under your foot. You may use a pumice stone to remove the tissue build-up. You may even use some prescribed medications to soften up the tissues but you must never use any sharp objects to remove calluses.
- Dry skin: The skin can crack up thereby allowing germs to enter. You will just have to use moisturizing creams to keep the skin soft and moisturised.
- Hammertoes: due to weakened muscles, a toe becomes bent making the tendons shorter. This can be genetic and it may also happen by wearing shorter shoes. This may lead to other problems such as sores, calluses and blisters. You can treat such a problem by splinting and wearing the correct footwear.
- Foot ulcers: When there is a break in the skin or when there is a deep sore it is foot ulcer. This can also become infected and it may develop from minor scrapes and cuts. You can consult your doctor if you are suffering from foot ulcers.
How can you prevent these foot problems?
These common foot problems can be dealt with proper foot care before they result in some serious problem. Below is the list of things that you can do to prevent the foot problems.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s guide with regard to exercise, nutrition, medication so that you can take care of yourself and your diabetes.
- Use warm water and mild soap to wash your feet every day. Due to nerve damage, your feet may not recognise the temperature and so before sinking your feet test with your elbow.
- You must check your feet every day for any calluses, blisters, redness or any of the problems that have been discussed above. Daily foot check is necessary especially if you have poor blood flow.
- Use a pumice stone to smooth out corns and calluses after taking bath when the skin is soft.
- You must use lotion if the skin on the feet is dry. To know which lotion will be best for you may consult a doctor by visiting https://patientmd.com/
- Trim the toenails with a nail clipper at least once a week.
- Try to use closed-toes shoes as much as possible and use slippers when you are at home. You may also wear cotton socks or stockings that fit your feet well.
- Wear shoes that fit well and always protect your feet from both heat and cold. Use socks if your feet get cold and wear shoes on hot pavement or at the beach.
- Smoking tends to worsen the blood flow, therefore, you must stop smoking if you smoke.
- When you see that there are no improvements in your foot problem then you must immediately consult your doctor.
- Use talcum powder between toes to prevent accumulation of moisture.
- Ensure that your doctor is checking your feet during every check-up. Annual checkup of your feet should be done while inspecting your skin, checking the temperature of your feet and the assessing the sensation of your feet.
You must consult your doctor if you experience any of the following problems:
- Swelling of the foot
- Changes in skin colour and skin temperature
- Pain in legs
- Corns, calluses, dry cracks in the heel
- Foot odour
- Ingrown toenails or fungus infected toenails.