Diabetes and your feet

More than 60% of non-traumatic (if they are not caused by trauma) leg amputations  are due to diabetes.  That is why foot care is extremely important in anybody with diabetes.  Diabetes can lead to foot complications due to the following-

Diabetic neuropathy: If you have loss of sensation in the feet due to neuropathy, you may not recognize if there is a sore or injury to your feet.  This may lead to infection and other complications.

Poor circulation as a result of damage to the blood vessels.  This would lead to poor healing of the wounds or ulcers, infections, etc. if these infections get worse, it may lead to very serious complications such as gangrene where the tissue in this area dies that may require foot amputation.

What are the ways to check for foot problems due to diabetes?

Self exam: Watch out for early  warning signs of diabetic foot problems including pain, burning, numbness, tingling in her feet or legs, excessive dryness of the skin, scaling or cracking, calluses, broken skin between the toes.

Clinical exam:  People with type 1 diabetes for more than 5 years and anyone with type 2 diabetes should have the feet examined every year. Your doctors may perform foot exam every year to check your sensation or feeling in the feet with a nylon brush or by perking them with a pin.  Your health care provider may also check your inability to since the temperature or may use it tuning fork to check your inability to feel the vibration.

Nerve conduction studies (electromyography) is sometimes used to check the type and the severity of nerve damage.  But these tests are generally not required to make a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy.

How do I prevent foot problems when I have diabetes?

  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker as smoking increases the risk of foot problems and risk of amputation.
  • Inspecting your feet and toes everyday for any cuts, redness, blister, swelling, etc.
  • Always wear shoes or sleepers to protect feet from injuries. Avoid wearing shoes or sleepers that are too tight or with sharp edges.
  • Where take, soft, seem less socks to prevent skin irritation
  • Use moisturizing cream of lotion to the feet
  • Cracking toenails to the shape of the toes and filing the edges each week or when needed
  • Filing quadrants and calluses gently with a few Ms. Stone after a shower
  • Avoid using a heating pad or hot water bottle on the feet
  • Check the temperature of the water in the bathtub before stepping in.

What are the treatments for diabetic foot ulcers?

Exposure to elevated oxygen levels (hyperbaric treatment)

Skin grafts when necessary

Substances that stimulated growth of infection fighting cells

Synthetic wound dressings

Electrical stimulation

Leave a Comment