Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the complications of diabetes is the risk of foot problems. High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves in the feet, leading to reduced sensation and increased risk of injuries. Poor blood flow to the feet can also cause wounds to heal slowly and increase the risk of infection. In severe cases, foot ulcers can develop and even lead to amputation.
According to Dr. David Armstrong, a professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and a leading expert in diabetic foot care, “Diabetes is the number one cause of non-traumatic amputations worldwide.” However, the good news is that with proper foot care and management, many foot problems in diabetics can be prevented.
Here are some tips to keep your feet healthy if you have diabetes:
- Check your feet daily: Inspect your feet for any signs of redness, swelling, cuts, blisters, or other abnormalities. If you have reduced sensation in your feet, ask a family member or friend to help you with the inspection.
- Wash your feet daily: Use mild soap and warm water to wash your feet, but avoid soaking them for long periods as this can dry out the skin.
- Keep your feet moisturized: Use a moisturizing cream or lotion to keep the skin on your feet supple and prevent dryness and cracking. However, avoid applying the cream between your toes as this can lead to fungal infections.
- Trim your toenails carefully: Use a nail clipper to trim your toenails straight across, and avoid cutting the corners too deeply. If you have difficulty reaching your feet or have thickened toenails, consider seeing a podiatrist.
- Wear proper footwear: Wear shoes that fit well and provide good support and cushioning. Avoid high heels and shoes with pointed toes, which can cause pressure points and lead to foot problems.
- Control your blood sugar: Keeping your blood sugar levels within a target range can help prevent or slow the progression of foot problems.
- Regular foot exams: Have a podiatrist or foot specialist examine your feet regularly. Especially if you have reduced sensation or other foot problems.
In conclusion, diabetes can have serious consequences for foot health, but with proper foot care and management, many foot problems can be prevented. By following these tips, you can take steps to keep your feet healthy and reduce the risk of complications. As Dr. Armstrong emphasizes, “Foot problems are not a foregone conclusion with diabetes. We can prevent a lot of bad things from happening with good foot care.”