What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where the body cannot manufacture or properly use insulin. The body then is unable to convert sugars and starches into energy, leaving an elevated amount of blood sugar. Too much glucose in the bloodstream can damage the feet, heart, kidney, eyes and nerves.

Diabetes can be managed with medical care, exercise and the correct diet to avoid complications.

Neuropathy, or nerve damage, results from too much blood sugar. With neuropathy, feeling is reduced in the feet, so any damage such as a cut or scrape can worsen. Because diabetes also causes poor circulation, the healing blood cannot reach the wound, resulting in an infection and a non-healing wound.

Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes warning signs often appear in the feet and can include:

  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Leg pain
  • Skin color changes
  • Slow-healing sores on the feet
  • Fungal toenails
  • Calluses or corns that bleed

How can I prevent Diabetic Foot Complications?

Prevention of diabetic foot complications starts with managing your diabetes effectively to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Regularly inspect your feet for any changes or injuries, as diabetes can lead to decreased sensation and slower wound healing. Keep your feet clean and moisturized to prevent cracks and infections. Wear well-fitted, comfortable shoes and avoid walking barefoot to minimize the risk of injury. It’s also essential to stop smoking, as it can reduce blood flow to your feet. Finally, see a podiatrist regularly for check-ups and early detection of potential problems.

Foot Care for Diabetes

Here are good guidelines to help avoid serious foot problems:

  • Check your feet daily. Look for anything unusual and inspect the bottom of your feet too. Call your foot doctor if you notice anything suspicious.
  • Wash feet every day in warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly especially between the toes.
  • Moisturize feet with a rich, emollient lotion or cream to keep skin supple.
  • When trimming the toenails, cut them straight across to avoid an ingrown nail.
  • Visit your podiatrist to treat corns or calluses – never cut them yourself.
  • Change shoes and socks every day, and put on clean, dry socks when they become damp.
  • Consider wearing socks made for those with diabetes. These have loose tops and extra cushioning, with fiber that wicks moisture away from the skin.
  • If your feet are cold at night, wear socks. Avoid using a heating pad.
  • Keep feet warm and dry in all types of weather.
  • Avoid going barefoot to protect your feet.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels in control.

Importantly, visit your podiatrist regularly for a complete foot exam.

Diabetes can lead to serious foot complications, but with vigilant care and management, many of these issues can be prevented or minimized. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of diabetic foot problems is crucial for early intervention and treatment. At West Hartford Podiatry Associates, we understand the unique challenges faced by individuals with diabetes. We are committed to providing comprehensive foot care to help manage and prevent complications associated with diabetes. Don’t overlook the health of your feet; schedule an appointment with us to ensure your feet stay healthy and functional for years to come.