Those who live with diabetes have a number of extra concerns that those who don’t might not think much about. They have to be careful of what they eat, make sure they get regular exercise, and take medication to avoid serious complications of their condition.
But did you know foot care is also a top priority when you live with diabetes? As a result of diabetic neuropathy, even small issues with your feet can create serious side effects. So, make sure you understand the reasoning behind this and how you can best care for yourself.
Here at Southwest Foot & Ankle in Scottsdale, Arizona, we provide our patients with top-tier treatment for foot and ankle health. Our providers — Petrina C. Lewis, DPM, FACFAS, and Mark T. Lewis, DPM, FACFAS, — know how to support their patients with diabetes and offer the best care for this condition.
Diabetic neuropathy is relatively common, affecting more than 30% of those who suffer from diabetes. This condition occurs when your blood sugar is too high and you experience nerve damage. The damage is permanent and often affects your extremities.
Your feet are one of the most likely parts of your body to experience diabetic nerve damage. You might notice a tingling sensation, pain, or weakness in your muscles as a result of this condition. But for some, diabetic neuropathy can cause almost no symptoms until you’re unable to feel parts of your feet.
Even if you don’t currently suffer from diabetic neuropathy, the condition can sneak up on you. You might not notice right away if you’re experiencing a loss of feeling in your feet. This is because many people don’t think about their feet and don’t notice problems unless they’re in severe pain.
What’s more, having or developing diabetic neuropathy means that you might not feel it if you were to do something to your feet that would normally cause pain. Cuts, scrapes, wounds, and sores can all develop without you noticing. And the nerve damage causes your injuries to heal more slowly.
This can all lead to a small cut or blister creating big problems that don’t get treated and don’t heal properly. When an open wound can’t heal, it can become gangrenous, which may eventually require tissue removal or even amputation.
We know it’s scary, but there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid these serious foot issues if you live with diabetes. Whether you’ve developed diabetic neuropathy or not, it’s always important to pay close attention to your feet. With the appropriate care and attention, you can avoid a problem before it starts or ensure your feet stay in good health despite patches of nerve damage.
If you suffer from diabetes, you should check your feet every day for cuts, sores, or other wounds. Even the smallest scrape could become a problem. If you notice a wound, make sure to keep it clean and treat it properly. Washing your feet every day with warm water and soap is also part of this process.
Clip your toenails properly and regularly, cutting straight across and not rounding your nails. You don’t want to develop an ingrown toenail!
Last but not least, make sure you talk to your doctor about your feet. Have them checked regularly by a professional so you know they’re being properly looked after.
Having diabetes doesn’t mean something will happen to your feet. But it does mean you have to put in extra care and attention with them. Trust us — you’ll be glad you took the time!
To make an appointment, call Southwest Foot & Ankle at 480-900-7399 today to make an appointment or schedule one online at your convenience. We want to help you protect and care for your feet!