13 Common Diabetic Foot Problems: How to Avoid Them

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    Over the years, diabetes is the causes of the majority of limb amputation cases. Poor circulation reduces sensation and the ability to feel pain hence leading to injuries becoming infections that if undetected early it may cause severe damage to the foot leaving amputation as the only option of treatment. Walking on sandals or barefoot when participating in outdoor activities increases risks of foot injuries which poses serious complications. Even when you’re indoors, ensure that you wear top diabetic slippers to protect your legs for possible damage.

    For a patient with diabetes, it is very important to take good care of your foot. Many foot problems have been associated with poor care and may lead to serious problems. Diabetes damages your nerves and it is sometimes hard to detect any foot injury especially when you can’t feel your feet. Failure to notice such injuries earlier often leads to infections where you can end up being hospitalized or amputation when the effect is severe. Also, not wearing diabetic shoes can worsen the condition of your feet. Additionally, it is essential that you own a foot massager to help enhance the circulation of blood in your feet.

    13 Common Diabetic Foot Problems

    1.Neuropathy – when not controlled, it can damage the nerves or cause neuropathy hence leading to failure to feel heat or cold. You may also fail to feel injuries and cuts on the feet which if not noticed it becomes infected. It also leads to ulcers and failure of muscles to work well

    2. Peripheral vascular – the flow of blood is affected leading to cuts taking long to heal. Poor blood flow also leads to development of ulcers due to failure of cuts to heal and your tissues might die.

    3. Calluses – this is hard skin that develops due to the failure of the shoe to fit well leading to uneven weight distribution. Always use insoles to prevent this.

    4. Athletes foot – it leads to redness, cracking and itching. The cracks attract germs hence causing infection.

    5. Blisters – causes by friction between the shoe and the foot. Always wear socks and treat them if it develops to prevent infections.

    6. Corn – caused by pressure on the toes by your shoes. Use a pumice stone to remove it and never cut it.

    7. Nail infection– this is caused by pricking and can leave germs which may lead to infections.

    Nail Infection

    8. Bunions – caused by angling of bigger toe to the other. It can be painful and can lead to deformity.

    9. Ingrown toenails – this is when nail edge grows to the skin due to pressure. It causes pain, infection, redness and swelling. Mostly caused by pressure from shoes and improper nail trimming.

    10. Dry skin– can cause germs enter hence infections. Use moisturized lotions and soap.

    11. Foot ulcers – this is a deep sore due to cuts and if not treated it can cause infections.

    12. Hammertoes – this is when the toe bents resulting to restrained walking, calluses, blisters, and sores.

    13. Plantar warts – similar to calluses caused from infection by virus. Seek medical advice for treatment.

    As a diabetic, you can always prevent these from happening when you take good care of your foot. What to do to prevent foot problems:

    How To Prevent Diabetic Foot Problems

    1.Ensure your feet are clean and well dried – make sure that you wash your feet daily and wipe them well till they dry well. Between your toes is a place you should carefully dry to prevent sores from developing and infections. Cleaning of the feet also ensures that no debris which may cause infections is left on your feet. Dampness due to failure to dry your feet and between the toes well encourages fungus to breed and can lead to infections over time which may require that your toes be amputated.

    2. Regular checkups – it is important that your feet are checked once per year by a podiatrist so that ifany medical attention is required; it is given on time. During summer, the chance of developing calluses and fungal infection is high and to avoid this, it is advisable that you see a podiatrist for special care. While waiting for the doctor, always take your shoes and socks off for your feet to relax.

    3. Maintain glucose level – it should always be below 126mg/dl. To achieve this, you can exercise regularly and pay attention to the kind of food you eat and how regular you do so. Always get help of a nutritionist or physician concerning the diet plan that will fit you.

    4. Avoid excess heat or cold – too much heat or cold is not good for your feet. Excess heat can lead to calluses and fungal infections which may lead to severe infections. When in a hot place, wear shoes and ensure your bathing water is not too hot. Avoid heating pads or hot water bottles. When cold, always wear socks for your feet to get some warmth.

    5. Purchase comfortable shoes – when buying new diabetic shoes, ensure that they are fitting well to avoid too big or too small shoes which may cause calluses or blisters. The right shoes reduce blister risk, calluses and protect your feet. For new shoes, shop during the evenings when the feet are swollen to ensure it can accommodate your feet during such times then wear them for about an hour at first then increase the time as time goes to ensure your feet get used to them. Ensure to check if there are any blisters.

    6. Avoid walking barefoot – whether indoors or outdoors, never walk barefoot if you are diabetic. Walking barefoot leads to foot ulcers and nail infections which is dangerous and can cause complications. Always wear shoes that are comfortable to ensure your feet are protected. Check the inner lining to make sure it is smooth and for any objects which may injure your foot. Always wear shoes with socks and avoid sandals, or shoes with straps on toes or open toes since objects may puncture the skin causing infections.

    7. Your socks must be clean and fitting properly – Socks with holes or mended are not good for your feet.  Wearing padded socks often provides maximum protection. Socks helps reduce development of calluses, blisters and helps protect your feet. Socks also provides that extra cushioning hence maximum protection of your feet. Ensure that the socks you wear are clean to avoid any infections. Also, the socks must have all the features of diabetic socks.

    8. Always make sure to trim toenails straight across –  this will make sure that there is no protruding toenail left which may injure your foot and also prevent you from hurting yourself while trimming them.

    9. Check for injuries regularly–always check for cuts, blisters, infections, scratches and red marks mostly during summertime before putting on or after removing your shoes. You can use a mirror to see clearly or someone to help. Check for any debris before putting on your shoes. In case of change in shape, or any discomfort make sure to seek medical attention.

    10. Protect feet circulation–Poor circulation can cause harm to your feet, therefore, ensure your feet are raised when sitting to improve circulation. Wiggle toes regularly and flex the feet up and down more often and avoid crossing legs while sitting. Also avoid smoking.

    11. Moisturize your feet – you can use creamy and thick moisturizers to ensure your feet are hydrated and avoid having cracked heels.

    12. For callus and corn removal see a doctor or a podiatrist–never resort to cutting them off yourself or using any chemical products over the counter as this may worsen the situation. Inform a health care provider about your diabetes so that you can be helped more efficiently.

    When to see a doctor

    -In case of swollen foot

    -Change in skin color and temperature

    -Painful legs

    -Ingrown or infected toenails

    -Open sores taking long to heal

    -Dry cracks

    -Calluses or corns

    -Foot odor

    Conclusion

    Foot care is a very important practice to observe when you are diabetic. Failure to do so may lead to serious complications requiring severe treatment which could have otherwise been avoided if you had taken good care of them. From wearing the right shoes, socks, cleaning your feet well, avoiding walking barefoot, regular checking of your foot for changes to avoiding environments which causes fungal infections are just few of the things you should always be attentive in. More often numbness leads to failure to feel your feet even if there is an injury and checking them regularly will help a lot in ensuring that any injury or foot problem is attended to on time.

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