Diabetes is a common condition in the U.S. and around the world, with over 400 million patients suffering from the condition globally. The effects that Diabetes has on general health can be devastating, affecting multiple body systems and limiting the freedom of its patients significantly in some cases.
Regularly taking any prescribed medications, carefully monitoring blood sugar levels, and being open with health care providers can minimize this risk, though complications can still occur.
One of the ways Diabetes affects people is through their feet, due to a number of complications that can occur over time with this illness. Prolonged periods of high blood sugar can cause nerve damage — or Neuropathy — in Diabetes patients, some of which can be severe and extremely painful.
Losing feeling in the feet, extreme pain in the feet, and sores that heal very slowly are all examples of how Diabetes can affect a patient’s ability to move freely, live free from pain, and their quality of life in general.
Diabetes patients can learn to manage their condition in ways that help to prevent the onset of these complications, such as living an active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, and sticking to a healthy, Diabetes-friendly diet. Staying aware and reporting any changes to their health care professional is also important — being proactive is much easier than dealing with problems as they arise.
If you’re concerned about the health of your feet or just want to get ahead of any potential complications, this article is for you. Read on for information about how Diabetes can affect your feet, the importance of proper foot care, and tips for keeping your feet healthy and happy despite your Diabetes:
The Dangers of Diabetes for Feet
Feet are quite vulnerable when it comes to Diabetes — they’re one of the most common body parts affected by Diabetic Neuropathy, or nerve damage due to prolonged periods of high blood sugar.
There are several warning signs to watch out for when dealing with Diabetes, including numbness, pain, or a burning sensation in the feet. These are all signs that Diabetic Neuropathy may be occurring and should be mentioned to your doctor immediately.
Other foot issues related to Diabetes include fungal infections, changing foot shape, thickening or yellowing of the toenails, and dry, cracked skin, to name a few. Any changes without an obvious cause should always be reported to your doctor, as they can signal complications that will require treatment, management, or medication adjustment
Importance of Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetic foot issues don’t have to be inevitable. While the risk is increased the longer a person has Diabetes, not all patients experience foot problems related to their illness. The occurrence of Neuropathy in Diabetic patients is about 47%, meaning over half of patients don’t have this problem.
There are, however, things that can be done (and probably should be done) to ensure the health of your feet when dealing with this condition. While your doctor or podiatrist will monitor your feet and recommend activities to help them remain healthy, it’s up to you to make your feet the priority.
Things like not carefully monitoring your blood sugar or failing to report changes to your feet will only increase the possibility of foot issues happening in the future, and there is only so much your doctor can do without your help. Being proactive is the best way to ensure the health of your feet — and the rest of you — when dealing with Diabetes.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Diabetic Feet
We’ve already established that it’s important for Diabetes patients to maintain healthy feet. While Neuropathy can happen even when patients take steps to prevent it, the likelihood is much less than it would be if no preventative care was taken.
Along with keeping an eye out for changes in the feet and legs (as well as the rest of the body) and monitoring blood sugar carefully, there are other measures Diabetic patients can incorporate into their daily lives to ensure their feet remain healthy.
Some habits that may be beneficial for keeping feet healthy include:
- Checking feet daily for any changes
- Washing feet in warm water every day, being sure to dry them completely
- Wearing well-fitted, supportive shoes
- Avoiding walking barefoot
- Participating in low impact exercises
- Elevating feet while sitting
All of these habits can help in preventing Diabetes related foot issues, along with a healthy diet and exercise as recommended by your doctor. Again, reporting any changes to your healthcare professional is essential in maintaining not only healthy feet, but a healthy body as well — especially with Diabetes.
While Diabetes can wreak havoc on the body, it doesn’t always have to. Taking extra good care of yourself is especially important with a Diabetes diagnosis and can be a huge help in offsetting the occurrence of complications.
Listening to your doctor and your body, consulting with a professional podiatrist, and keeping an eye out for changes (and reporting them) are all ways you can support yourself through this illness. Your life doesn’t have to revolve around your Diabetes, and there are plenty of resources to support you through it.
Contact Us for Your Diabetic Footcare Needs Today
If you’re suffering from Diabetes related foot issues or even just want some tips on how to take the best possible care of your feet, a professional podiatrist is a great place to start. Not only can they suggest how best to care for your Diabetic feet, but they can also answer any questions or concerns you may have — setting you up for success with a personalized treatment plan based on your individual situation.
Advanced Ankle & Foot is a great place for patients who want help with their Diabetic feet, and with locations in Queen Creek, Casa Grande, and Gilbert, our staff is always prepared to assist you. The best thing you can do for your Diabetic feet is to get them help, which you’ll definitely find here. Contact us today and let’s get you on the road to recovery!