How To Prevent Common Diabetic Foot and Toe Problems
Diabetes is a medical condition in which your body cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone created in the pancreas that allows your body’s cells to utilize blood glucose (sugar) properly. When you have diabetes, the condition leads to levels of blood sugar that are too high to maintain proper cell functioning. The insulin, that is being insufficiently produced, is what helps glucose from food get into your cells to produce energy. Without appropriate amounts of insulin in your blood, the glucose stays there and cannot reach the cells it needs to for energy requirements. This condition can lead to some serious health issues and complications.
If your diabetic condition is not kept under control, it can damage your nerves, particularly the nerves in your legs, toes, and feet. You may experience diabetic neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease. Diabetic neuropathy is when you lose feeling in your feet, especially when a sore, blister or other complication occurs on your foot and goes undetected due to a loss of sensation in the area. The ulcer or cut can become infected and lead to other significant complications. Peripheral vascular disease is when there is a reduced flow of blood to your feet. This deficiency in blood circulation makes it hard for even tiny cuts or sores on the foot or toes to heal correctly, also leading to infection and more serious issues. Other common foot issues that can be traced to those with diabetes include:
- athlete’s foot
- nail fungus infections
- dry skin
- ingrown toenails
- plantar warts
Preventing Common Diabetic Foot Issues
If you are a diabetic, the physicians at American Foot and Leg Specialists can provide you with a variety of tips for healthy diabetic foot care. The number one tip is to check your feet on a daily basis to prevent complications from occurring. Look for any sores, redness, blisters, callus formation, or small cuts. Remember, you may not feel any discomfort, but visually checking your feet daily can help you detect a small issue before more serious complications take place.
You skin can get dry, but it’s important to keep the skin moist and supple. Apply lotion after showering or bathing and dry your feet. Ask your physician or a member of our medical team at American Foot and Leg Specialists as to which type of lotion is best for you. Avoid rubbing the lotion or cream between your toes.
Corns and Calluses
Keep the skin on your feet smooth by gently rubbing corns and calluses with a pumice stone after you bathe and while your skin is still soft.
Be sure to check your toenails carefully once a week. Trim the nails straight across with a toenail clipper, being sure not to round off the corners or cut down on the sides of the each nail, as this can lead to ingrown toenails. When done clipping, file each toenail with an emery board.
Avoid wearing sandals and open-toe shoes. Also, do not walk around your home barefoot, as you can easily bump your foot and cut it or cause a sore to fester. Wear socks or stockings that fit well and are softly elastic.
Increase the blood flow to your feet by wiggling your toes, putting your feet up while sitting, and moving around as often as possible.
Contact American Foot and Leg Specialists for help with your diabetic foot care. They have four locations in Georgia: Fayetteville, Forest Park, Locust Grove, and Stockbridge.
This article does not take the place of professional medical advice. Call our staff to make an appointment with one of our physicians or an M.D. in your area.
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