Diabetes causes several in your body. If you have diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), you may encounter trouble with your feet.
When you need expert foot care, the team at the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico in Roswell is here to help. Here, Dr. Magdy Issa, our experienced podiatrist, explains how and why to pay extra attention to your diabetic feet.
How diabetes affects your feet
Diabetes is a medical issue that affects your blood glucose. With this condition, your body either doesn’t use insulin properly or doesn’t make enough to control the glucose in your blood.
Insulin is necessary, as it opens up your cells to use the glucose in your blood for energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly, the sugar in your blood climbs to extremely high levels.
Neuropathy occurs when high blood sugar damages the nerves in your legs and feet. You can sustain nerve damage anywhere, but lower extremities are the most common targets.
Nerve damage makes it hard to feel pain or temperature changes in your feet, allowing foot injuries to go unnoticed.
Another complication of diabetes is decreased blood flow to your legs and feet, which exacerbates neuropathy and leads to complications from insufficient circulation.
Complications of diabetes on your feet
Between the nerve damage and decreased blood flow, your feet are at risk for a number of issues.
Foot skin changes are common with diabetes. Nerve damage dries out your skin, causing cracks and infections. Keep the moisturized, but not between your toes.
Calluses are another common issue with diabetes, as thickened skin forms on the high-pressure points. If they get too thick, calluses can break down and lead to open ulcers on your feet.
Ulcers are also a complication of diabetes. The nerve damage in your feet, along with impaired blood flow, can turn a simple cut into a diabetic ulcer. Even ulcers that don’t hurt can cause an infection.
If you don’t check your feet daily, ulcers or infections worsen. An untreated infection could progress to the point where you need an amputation — up to 90% of all amputations are related to diabetes complications.
Preventing diabetic foot problems
Dr. Issa provides you with diabetic foot care instructions. The first step to healthy feet with diabetes is ensuring you inspect them daily. Check for cuts, calluses, or open sores. If you find anything, notify us immediately. Other tips for healthy feet include:
- Control your blood sugar
- Wash your feet in warm water
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Inspect your shoes
- Don’t walk barefoot
- Don’t cut corns or calluses yourself
- Be careful when cutting your nails
If your feet are cold at night, wear socks to bed instead of using a heating pad. You may not be able to feel when the pad is too hot, causing burns. Socks are the safest way to keep your feet warm, day or night.
If you need expert foot care, call our office in Roswell today at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment on our website using our scheduling tool.