Diabetes is a lifelong, chronic disease caused by high levels of sugar in the blood, either because your body is not making enough insulin or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience frequent urination and often become increasingly thirsty and/or hungry.
Diabetics are also at great risk for the following foot problems:
- Nerve damage in the feet & poor circulation in the legs.
- This systemic disease can decrease your body’s ability to fight off infections, which is especially harmful to your feet.
- When diabetes is not properly controlled, damage can occur to the nerves in your feet decreasing your ability to sense hot or cold, sharp or light touch to your feet.
- Uncontrolled diabetes may also lead to circulation problems in the lower extremities which may create larger issues such as infections/ulcerations that could possibly result in pedal amputations.
How does Diabetes affect my feet?
With damage to your nervous system from the increased sugar load within your body, you may not be able to feel your feet properly. Normal sweat glands and oil production that lubricate the skin of the foot are impaired causing your feet and legs to become extremely dry, scaly or cracked. The excessive pressures of the everyday wear and tear that occurs to our feet can lead to an abnormal pressure on the soles of a diabetic foot, creating calluses & lesions during walking and other activities. These callused lesions on the soles of a diabetic foot can breakdown the skin, and put one at great risk for diabetic wounds that may become ulcerations & pedal infections. If you have diabetes, it is important to inspect your feet daily in order to prevent foot problems from arising. However, if you do suspect that you may have something wrong with your feet, such as loss of sensation, redness, hardened calluses or open sores, it is extremely important to recognize the problem early, and seek medical attention from a licensed podiatrist.
Check Your Feet and Check Your Shoes
When it comes to your feet, a major risk factor that can increase your chances of developing foot problems lay within the shoes that you wear. Poorly fitting shoes are one of the biggest incidents of diabetic foot complications. Check your feet daily for red areas, sore spots, blisters, corns and calluses. These modifiers may be attributed from your shoe gear and can create futuristic problems easily avoidable with the appropriate shoe gear. Also, making the observation for pedal deformities or abnormalities such as flat feet/collapsing arch, bunions, or hammertoes is very important in preventing pedal complications. Prescripted diabetic/orthopaedic shoes or customized orthotics may be necessary to further protect your feet, both of which are easily obtained from your podiatrist.
Diabetes can be extremely harmful to your feet, so take proper precautions to prevent life changing/life altering events. You can prevent unwanted pedal problems and re-gain confidence in every step that you take by following proper prevention techniques offered by your podiatrist. Prevention & daily observation is the key to saving your feet. Make your appointment today for a complete screening & diabetic foot evaluation!
Written by Diandra Gordon, DPM