As a diabetic, in addition to monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure, you must pay special attention to your feet. Diabetes diminishes blood circulation and attacks the nerves in your feet, making them prone to a series of complications. Because this is National Diabetes Month, in today’s post, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, shares some of the most common foot problems associated with diabetes.
- Swelling: Diminished blood flow in your feet can make them swell. While this is certainly uncomfortable, swelling can also affect the natural healing process. If you experience any injury to your feet while they are inflamed, contact your podiatrist immediately. To prevent your feet from swelling, try to stay out of exceptionally hot weather, avoid eating unhealthy foods, try not to stand for long periods, and consider investing in compression stockings.
- Diabetic neuropathy: Nerve damage in your feet may cause numbness, which can make it impossible for you to feel sores, ulcers, and blisters. Permitting these wounds to worsen can lead to an infection, and, in some cases, amputation. Monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels at all times, and visit a podiatrist at least once a year so they can assess sensation and blood flow in your feet.
- Calluses: While calluses don’t typically affect most people, they can become a problem for you if you have diabetes. If left untreated, diabetic calluses can eventually become ulcers. To diminish this risk, have calluses treated as soon as they form. But don’t try to treat them yourself - make sure your podiatrist removes them to avoid infection.
- Foot ulcers: Diminished circulation can cause areas of fluid to collect on the bottom of your feet, and if left untreated, these wounds can become infected. Boost blood circulation in your feet to prevent ulcers from forming by exercising frequently and staying warm. Be observant when examining your feet if you have diabetic neuropathy, as the numbness may make it challenging to notice ulcers. Rest is one of the best ways to treat ulcers; if you must move around, wear diabetic footwear so the cushioning stops your wounds from worsening.
- Ingrown toenails: When you have diminished sensation in your feet, an ingrown toenail can go unnoticed until it becomes infected. Trim your toenails evenly so they don’t grow into your skin, wear shoes that fit, and regularly examine your feet for swelling and redness in your toes.
Fortunately, you can avert and manage these foot problems with exercise, basic foot care, frequent visits to your podiatrist, and constant vigilance. Don’t let diabetes prevent you from leading an active lifestyle.
We can help you manage the effects of diabetes on your feet or those of a loved one. Contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.