Effects of Diabetes on Feet
It is found that one person amongst every five diabetes patient visits doctor with complaints of foot problems.
Many people suffering from diabetes cause nerve damage. Such nerve damage could be mild or severe in nature. Diminished feeling caused by nerve damages may result in inability to notice scratches, breaks and cuts in the feet skin and may lead to infection.
Diabetes condition may produce medical conditions like ulcers, poor circulation, calluses, amputation and neuropathy (loss of sensation) in the feet.
Foot Ulcers: Usually, foot ulcers occur on the big toe bottom or over the ball of foot. Ulcers developed on the sides of foot are generally caused by wearing poorly fitting foot wears. Ignorance in treatment of ulcers may lead to development of infection and result in loss of limb.
Poor circulation: Reduction in blood flow (poor circulation) makes it difficult for the feet to combat the infection and resist the process of healing.
Calluses: People with diabetes are considered more prone to development of Calluses. They develop calluses with considerably faster rate. If these calluses are not trimmed in initial stage, they become thicker, break down and transform into open sores called ulcers.
Neuropathy: Neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes) may reduce sensitivity. As a result of this your may not be able to feel pain, cold or heat. Neuropathy is considered as main cause behind inability to notice foot injuries.
Amputation: Amputation of foot or leg may result if the complications (mentioned in the preceding paragraphs) are not treated in time.
When to consult your Doctor
If you experience some abnormalities of foot and your have the history of diabetes you must consult your doctor immediately. You must also seek opinion of your doctor if you notice one or more than one of the following abnormalities.
- Changes in foot skin color
- Changed temperature of skin
- Painful legs (both while walking as well as while resting)
- Swollen ankle or foot
- Open sores that take longer period for healing
- Infections of toenails or ingrown toenails
- Bleeding corns or calluses
- Development of cracks in the skin surrounding heel area
Prevention of Foot Problems
Maintaining the healthy skin is best way of preventing foot problems. Treating abnormalities immediately after they surface also helps you in preventing occurrence of foot problems. Adopting hygienic habits like washing your feet, keeping feet dry, wearing properly fitting shoes etc will reduce your risk of developing foot problems.
Tips for selecting shoes
- Use shoes that fit your properly.
- Use shoes with proper ventilation. Shoes made from canvas and leather provides better ventilation and helps you in keeping feet dry.
- Shoe heel should not be snugly fitting.
- Do not use shoes with high heels and pointed toes
To conclude, use of properly fitting shoes (shoes that have cushion to support heel and toes and provide adequate ventilation) plays a greater role in prevention of foot problems. Never, ignore any foot abnormality. Consult your doctor and avoid further complications.