Some very serious foot problems can affect those with diabetes due to two main factors that are hallmarks of the disease. The first of these is peripheral neuropathy which is nerve damage to the extremities that causes a greatly reduced sense of feeling in the feet and hands. This damage is caused by years of high blood sugar levels, and makes it especially difficult to even notice when you have an injury to your foot.
The second factor that often affects diabetic patients is inadequate blood circulation caused by damage to arteries and blood vessels. High sugar levels in the blood contribute to hardening of the arteries and may even cause capillaries to leak. The reason this is a problem is that the decrease in blood circulation slows down the healing response.
Taken together, these two conditions mean that even a minor scrape, cut, or bruise can quickly become infected, possibly leading to ulcers, damage, and possible amputation of a toe, foot or lower leg.
Essential foot care for diabetic patients includes:
- Daily foot inspection—Carefully check your feet for any cuts, scrapes, blisters, puncture wounds, or ingrown toenails. Always inspect carefully between your toes and check the bottoms of your feet with a mirror if necessary.
- Keep your feet protected—It’s best to wear something sturdy on your feet even when you are at home to help prevent injury and protect your feet from sharp objects. Wear supportive, comfortable shoes that have a wide toe box to keep your toes from rubbing against the sides. Specially made diabetic footwear has thicker soles, a deeper heel cup, and stabilization capabilities using custom made orthotic inserts.
- Enjoy a low impact exercise program—Keeping your diabetes under control includes incorporating some exercise into your routine. Start slowly and add strength and flexibility exercises for your feet to help improve balance.
If you are concerned about diabetic foot care or other foot or ankle problem, schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry in New Albany, IN. Our highly qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!