Diabetes is a tough condition to work through, but that doesn’t mean it has to stop you in your tracks. It’s all about information: forewarned is forearmed. So what information is useful to a person who struggles with the illness? Certainly, information about blood sugar, diet, and exercise is useful, but have you considered your feet? People with diabetes are far more likely to have foot problems like the ones that we’ll go into below. However, that doesn’t have to stop you. We’ll teach you more about how diabetes can affect foot health and how to manage it effectively here.
What Do I Have To Look Out For?
There are many foot problems to watch out for if you have diabetes. We’ll acquaint you with the various diseases and conditions that come about because of your condition and explain how you can best manage them to lead a healthy life.
Diabetic neuropathy is when high blood sugar levels cause nerve damage over time. This leads to pain in your legs and feet. Even more concerning, it can lead to loss of feeling in your legs. People with diabetes have more delicate feet and, as such, are more prone to cuts and bruising. For instance, let’s say a pebble gets stuck in a woman’s diabetic boot or shoe. If they struggle with diabetic neuropathy, they likely won’t feel it. Unfortunately, this can lead to cuts or bruises. Over time, that, in turn, can lead to gangrene and eventual amputation. This isn’t an ideal situation, so be vigilant if you have symptoms of numbness in your feet.
Bunions are deformities in the big toe. With this condition, the big toe tends to angle inward toward the second toe. They can be extremely painful, as the bones become misaligned. People with diabetes who are overweight tend to get bunions. People with impaired blood supply to the feet and nerve problems in the muscles—like diabetic neuropathy—have a greater chance of dealing with bunions.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease is when buildup on the walls of blood vessels causes them to narrow the vessels themselves. Anyone can get it, but it most commonly affects people with type 2 diabetes who are prone to high cholesterol. Diabetes affects the lining around cells in your blood vessels. You may not have any symptoms, so it pays to be vigilant if you feel any pain in the extremities or heart area.
This is a huge issue in people with diabetes. Candida Albicans is the most common fungal infection. It’s a fungus that creates itchy rashes in moist, red areas surrounded by tiny blisters and scales. They occur in warm, moist skin folds, which is why it’s so important that you keep breathable material on your feet. Feet are prone to moisture, especially in the summer months when we have more of a tendency to sweat. Therefore, it’s important to take care of your feet. If you can catch this issue at the onset and know the signs, you might be able to save yourself the trouble.
Calluses are common for everyone, even if you don’t have diabetes. They result from repeated friction or pressure and can often occur with improperly fitted shoes, foot problems, or bunions. Given that diabetes can cause changes in blood vessels and the nerves of the feet, diabetic foot problems like calluses occur often. If you see one and it’s been a while since you’ve checked your feet, have a podiatrist remove them.
Diabetic blisters are rare, but they still happen. They’re a painful skin condition in which fluid fills a space between layers of skin. They form because of improperly fitted shoes—see how that issue keeps popping up? There’s a solution for that—we’ll get into it later. Blisters can erupt spontaneously. While the fluid in blisters is sterile, you still want to call your doctor to drain it. People with diabetes heal in two to five weeks without any intervention.
These occur on the balls of your foot or the bottom of the big toe. Even though some don’t hurt, they should be seen by your doctor. Neglecting your ulcer could result in infections, which can lead to amputation. How your doctor approaches the ulcer will vary, but they need to ensure the bone isn’t infected, so an x-ray may be in order. Generally, try not to walk on your ulcer. If it’s not healing and you have poor circulation, they’ll refer you to a surgeon specializing in these matters.
Tips for Care
Now that we’ve delved into the problems that can affect a diabetic’s foot health, we can discuss preventative care. Use these tips below to help you take better care of your feet.
Wear Diabetic Shoes and Socks
Diabetic shoes and socks are essential. All the conditions and diseases above affect foot health tremendously. Diabetic socks and shoes help with circulation, protect you from cuts and wounds, and don’t put pressure on your feet. They also leave room for insoles and can be worn anywhere. They’re so useful that we recommend people with diabetes wear them all the time, even in the house.
Inspect Your Feet Daily
Inspecting your feet daily will help you catch any blisters, bruises, or sores before they become a problem. As you can see above, these issues happen more with diabetics than in the normal population. People with diabetes heal slower overall. If you notice any issues with any of the things we’ve mentioned, it could be dangerous. If you don’t check regularly, you won’t know how long the issue has been there. Be diligent about checking.
Wash With Warm Water
Washing your feet with warm water will clean any dirt and debris and help you ward off infection. Check the water temperature with your wrists, not your feet, to make sure it’s not too hot. Ensure you wash all areas of your feet, including your toes and between them. Pat your feet dry and ensure you dry carefully between your toes, where you’re most likely to get foot fungus and other bacterial infections that hide in warm, damp places.
While people with diabetes have many conditions to contend with, you aren’t alone. This isn’t an exhaustive list of concerns, but they should set you well on your way to being astute and knowledgeable enough to handle the issues should they arise. Here at Anodyne, we take pride in our diabetic shoes and accessories. Browse our collection at Anodyne today!