Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease, which affects the vascular system extensively throughout the body.
Too much Glucose in the blood, for a long time can have drastic complications
- Diabetic Foot Ulcer(DFU)
Diabetes can affect your feet in two ways.
- It can damage the nerves in your legs and feet,
- You might not feel heat, cold or pain. (Diabetic neuropathy).
Peripheral vascular disease(PVD)
- Poor blood flow in the arms and legs
- It takes longer for a sore or cut to heal.
Common foot problems of people with diabetes?
These common foot problems can possibly lead to infection and serious complications
- Fungal infection of nails
- Foot ulcers
- Ingrown toenails [Read: Ingrown Toe Nails]
- Athlete’s foot
- Dry skin
Diabetic Foot Ulcer
The most common contributing factors to ulcer formation
- peripheral artery disease
- minor trauma
Once the diabetic foot ulcer has developed, various factors contribute to complicate the condition
- advanced age of the patient
- renal disease
I Never Felt The Injury Or The Ulcer, Why?
Neuropathy – results in insensitivity
Deformity in the foot.
Even a minor trauma may lead to a chronic ulcer.
Continous walking on the affected foot, does not allow the ulcer to heal (insensitive to pressure, pain).
In the presence of peripheral vascular disease, the wound becomes ischemic and a non-healing ulcer develops.
So you never feel the injury or the ulcer till it is too late.
The Risk Factors For Developing Diabetic Foot Ulcer.
History of DFU
Poor glycemic control
If I cannot Feel It How Do I Take Care Of My Foot?
Diabetic patients should examine their feet on a daily bases.
Use a mirror in order to better observe the plantar surface of the foot
Look for macerations between the toes.
The feet should be washed and dry at least once a day.
It is important to dry the inter-digital spaces between the toes very carefully.
The temperature of the water used for rinsing the foot should be less than 37 centigrade.
The diabetic patients should not use the heating pads over their bodies.
It is also recommended to warn the patient not to place their feet close to the heaters during the winter.
Change and put on clean socks on a daily bases
Apply lubricants containing urea or salicylates. (Avoid inter-digital spaces)
Cut the nails straight across.
Make sure your doctor examines your feet at each check-up.
Do not wear tight sock
Do not manipulate the nail.
Do not use chemicals to treat calluses.
Do not cut the calluses at home.
Do not wear shoes without stockings.
It is recommended
Wear special shoes with adequate size when walking indoor/outdoor.
Use footwear’s with enclosed frontal part in order to prevent the minor trauma.
Observe and physically examine inside your shoes on a daily basis for:
a. Foreign objects inside the shoes
b. effect of patients foot on the shoe(Pressure point)
Keep your blood glucose level within the range
What Should I Look Out For? (Time To See The Doctor)
Unusual and/or persistent foot odour
Changes in skin colour
Changes in skin temperature
Swelling in the foot or ankle
Pain in the legs
Ingrown toenails or toenails infected with fungus [Read: Ingrown Toe Nails]
Corns or calluses
Dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel
Read More: Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treatment
If any of the above is seen immediately contact your physician/Podiatrist.