Tuesday, 20 September 2022 00:00

Diabetic Foot Care

Though diabetes begins with the pancreas not producing enough insulin, thus raising your blood sugar levels, it is a systemic condition that can affect every part of your body. The feet are no exception, and a variety of lower limb problems are very common among people with diabetes. 

One of the primary foot-related concerns for patients with diabetes is diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). These are poorly healing open wounds on the feet that are at high risk of becoming infected due to a weakened immune system, another common complication of diabetes. Nerve damage in the feet caused by high blood sugar levels interferes with pain signaling between the peripheral nerves in the feet and the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). When this signaling is disrupted, it can be difficult to detect foot injuries, such as cuts and scrapes, when they occur. These injuries are then left unnoticed and untreated until they have significantly worsened. Poor circulation, another complication of diabetes, means that not enough nutrients reach the feet. Without them, the wounds on the feet heal slowly and poorly, or not at all. These wounds can then become infected, leading to tissue death. 

The best way to prevent DFUs and their consequences is to carefully monitor the health of your feet through daily foot inspections. Using a mirror to help you see your feet fully, look for any cuts, scrapes, sores, bruising, swelling, discoloration, rashes, hair loss, deformities, or nail changes. Take note of any foul odors, pain, warmth, and strange sensations such as numbness, tingling, burning, or pins and needles. If you notice a problem, seek the care of a chiropodist as soon as possible. Early treatment is key to avoiding potential complications. 

DFUs are not the only foot problem diabetics are more likely to encounter. Diabetes can also increase your risk of corns and calluses, cracked skin, bunions, hammertoes, Charcot foot, nail disorders, and various infections. If you have diabetes, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a doctor who can help you monitor your foot health, treat any existing conditions, and prevent future ones.

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