Diabetes And Feet
If you have diabetes, foot problems are a common and potentially dangerous complication. All diabetics should have regular foot care aimed at preventing foot problems from developing. When a problem occurs early medical intervention is a must.
Although anyone can develop a foot problem, people with diabetes are highly prone to disorders of the feet. This is because changes in blood circulation, damage to the nerves and a loss of sensation are more common in people who have diabetes. Anyone with diabetes should see our Whitestone podiatrist for routine foot screenings for diabetic foot issues.
Diabetes Presents A Unique Foot-Care Challenge!
Left to itself, diabetes causes nerve damage that can have a particularly detrimental impact on your feet. Not only do your feet have to endure an inordinate amount of stress, but they are also at the farthest reaches of your circulatory system. When nerve damage occurs, the health and safety of your feet is severely compromised.
Neuropathy, or disease of the nerves, is common with diabetes and feet problems. One of the main concerns with diabetic neuropathy is that it causes a loss of sensation in the feet. When you are not able to detect hot, cold, pressure or pain, you could experience a severe foot injury. For example, you could get a blister or cut on your foot and walk around for hours without noticing it. A small wound could become infected because the skin breaks down without you feeling any pain.
Skin changes are a frequent cause for concern in people with diabetes. Many diabetic people notice that their feet become dry. Severe foot dryness may cause cracking, especially around the backs of the heels. This can be painful. If you have moderate to severe diabetic neuropathy, you might not even notice that your skin has cracked open.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop calluses than people who do not have diabetes. This is because the foot experiences more pressure, especially if the tissues are swollen from poor circulation and fluid buildup. A callus that persists could crack open and ulcerate, leading to a serious foot infection. If you have lost a lot of the sensation in your feet, you might not even realize that this has happened until the infection has spread deep into your soft tissue.
Skin ulcers are serious diabetic foot issues. The usually develop on the heel or ball of the foot, which is where the most pressure occurs when you take a step or stand. Ulcers on the feet have a high risk of getting infected. If you continue walking on an ulcer, especially one that is infected, you could experience a breakdown of tissue that reaches all the way to your bones. Checking your feet every day is an important step in being aware of ulcers on your feet.
Poor circulation is another concern for diabetes and feet. People with diabetes often experience a narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels that serve the feet and toes. When less blood is flowing to the foot, it slows down the healing process. Your feet and ankles may swell, making it difficult to put your shoes on. Poor circulation also contributes to the advancement of nerve damage.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to peripheral arterial disease. In this condition, blood flow to your feet is severely reduced. People with diabetes who smoke have a much higher risk of peripheral arterial disease. If you have diabetes, our Whitestone podiatrist offers regular checkups to prevent these serious diabetic foot issues.
For those living with diabetes including children, any of the following problems are potentially serious:
- Ingrown toenails
- Athlete’s Foot
- Corns & Calluses
- Dry or Cracked Skin
If you have diabetes don’t hesitate, call
Family Foot Center at 718-767-5555.