Diabetes is a set of metabolic diseases that affect your body’s ability to manage your glucose, or blood sugar, levels. The chronically high blood sugar levels that many diabetics experience cause systemic health problems in many organs, your eyes, and your feet.
If you have diabetes, it’s extra important for you to take care of your feet. At Go Feet, Dr. Stuart Honick, Payal Patel, and James Williamson with locations in the Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey areas, can help you monitor your foot health and support you if you should suffer complications.
Here’s what diabetes can do to your feet and why you should seek our care.
When you’re diabetic and your glucose levels aren’t well-controlled, you’re susceptible to nerve damage known as diabetic neuropathy. This causes poor sensation in your feet, so you might not feel cold, heat, or pain.
Your feet may suffer burns, frostbite, or cuts without your knowing it. Because diabetes lowers the amount of blood flow to your feet, healing is impeded. Cuts can become easily infected, and the infection spreads to your blood or other tissues. Issues like a blister, callus, or corn can become serious.
Poor blood flow and infection can lead to painful ulcers or gangrene, which is the death of tissue caused by lack of blood. In some cases, the only treatment option is amputation.
Charcot’s foot isn’t common, but it is a serious foot complication related to diabetes. The nerve damage you experience leads to changes in the shape of your foot. At first you might just notice swelling, warmth, and redness. With time, the bones in your feet and toes change position or break. The result is an oddly shaped foot such as one with a “rocker” bottom.
Charcot’s foot can make it uncomfortable to walk or stand.
Minor problems escalate
Other bothersome foot problems can arise or be magnified because of your diabetes. They include:
- Athlete’s foot
- Fungal toenails
- Calluses and corns
- Ingrown toenails
- Plantar warts
In most healthy people, these foot problems are annoying and painful, but not limb-threatening. If you’re diabetic, they can create serious complications like infection and amputation.
Take care of your feet
If you have diabetes, you should be extra vigilant about foot health. Daily, do a self foot check to look for any cracks in the skin, cuts, or blisters. Come see us if you do detect something irregular so that we can get your feet the care they need.
Wear shoes and socks regularly; avoid going barefoot, which makes your feet vulnerable to the slightest injury. Trim your toenails straight across to discourage ingrown nails, and wash your feet every day (dry them thoroughly, too). Protect your feet from temperature extremes.
Make regular visits to Go Feet, as well. We can offer recommendations as to good footwear and detect any problems early — before they escalate into a serious condition.
Remember, we are your foot health advocates. If you see a cut, blister, or bruise that doesn’t heal after a couple of days, warm or inflamed skin, or a callus with a split or evidence of dried blood, contact us right away.
For all your diabetic foot care needs, contact Go Feet. Call one of our offices today, or use the online tool to schedule.