Diabetes patients are more likely to have foot issues as a result of persistent high blood sugar levels. Diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease are the two main problems that occur in the feet, and both can have serious complications. Diabetes is a disease that causes insufficient or defective insulin production or low insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that assists cells in absorbing sugar from the bloodstream and converting it to energy. When this process doesn't work properly, sugar remains circulating in the blood, causing health problems. Long periods of high blood sugar can damage many areas of the body, including the feet.
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What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Your body's cells require glucose for energy. A hormone called insulin helps glucose enter cells. Your body cannot produce insulin if you have type 1 diabetes. Your body does not produce or utilize insulin effectively if you have type 2 diabetes. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot enter your cells as fast as usual. Glucose builds up in the blood and causes high blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of diabetes in the feet vary from person to person and may depend on the specific problems a person is experiencing at the time.
However, symptoms can include:
A loss of feeling
Numbness or tingling
Blisters or other painless wounds.
Discoloration of the skin and changes in temperature.
Wounds with or without drainage.
Stains on socks
A person may also experience some of the following symptoms if an infection develops:
Uncontrollable blood sugar
Anyone with diabetes who develops signs of infection, particularly in the feet, should seek immediate medical attention.
What are some common foot problems with diabetes?
Anyone can get the foot problems listed below. However, for people with diabetes, these common foot problems can lead to infections and serious complications, such as amputations.
Athlete's foot- The athlete’s foot is a fungus that causes itching, redness, and cracking. Germs can enter through cracks in your skin and cause an infection. Medications that kill the fungus can treat athletes' feet. These medicines are available as tablets or lotions.
Fungal infection of the nails- Nails infected with a fungus may become discolored (yellowish-brown or dull), be thick and brittle, and may separate from the rest of the nail. In some cases, your nail may crumble. The dark, humid and warm environment of shoes can help a fungus to grow. An injury to the nail can also lead to a fungal infection. Nail fungal infections are difficult to treat. Medications that are applied to the nail are available, but they only help a small number of nail fungus problems. You may need prescription medications that are taken by mouth. Your doctor can also remove the damaged nail.
Calluses- A callus is a collection of hard skin, usually on the bottom of the foot. Corns are caused by uneven weight distribution. Corns can also be caused by poorly fitting shoes or a skin problem. It is normal to have corn on your foot, so your doctor will decide if your corn is causing problems. If you have corn, take proper care of it. After your bath or shower, use a pumice stone to gently remove the accumulated tissue. In your shoes, use cushioned cushions and insoles. Medicines can soften corns. do not try to cut the callus or remove it with a pointed object.
Corn- Corn is a tough buildup of skin near the bony area of a toe or between the toes. Corns can occur due to pressure from shoes rubbing against the toes or causing friction between the toes. Make sure you take proper care of them. After your bath or shower, use a pumice stone to gently remove the accumulated tissue. Don't use over-the-counter remedies to dissolve corns. do not try to cut the corn or remove it with a pointed object.
Blisters- It can form when your shoes rub the same spot on your foot. Wearing shoes that don't fit or wearing shoes without socks can cause blisters, which can become infected. When treating blisters, it is important not to "pop". The skin that covers the blister acts as an infection barrier. To preserve the skin and prevent infection, apply an antibacterial lotion and clean, soft bandages.
Bunions- A bunion forms when the big toe bends toward the second toe. Often the place where the big toe meets the foot becomes red and callused. This area can also stick out and become hard. Bunions can develop on either one or both of your feet. They can be inherited, but most of the time they are caused by wearing high-heeled shoes with narrow toes. These shoes put pressure on the big toe, pushing it towards the second toe. The felt or foam padding can help protect the bunion from irritation. Your doctor may also use a device to separate the big toe and second toe. If the bunion causes severe pain or deformity, you may need surgery to realign your toes.
Dry Skin- Dry skin can break, allowing pathogens to enter the body. Use moisturizing soaps and lotions to keep your skin moist and smooth. Ask your doctor which ones to use.
Diabetic ulcers- A foot ulcer is a break in the skin or a deep sore. They can get infected. Foot ulcers can occur from minor scrapes, cuts that heal slowly or rubbing against shoes that don't fit well. It is important to treat them as soon as you notice them. Inquire with your doctor about the best way to treat your ulcer. Up to 10% of people with diabetes will develop foot ulcers.
Hammer’s toes- A hammertoe is a finger that bends due to a weakened muscle. The weakened muscle shortens the tendons in the toe, causing the toe to bend under the foot. Hammertoes can be inherited. They can also be caused by shoes that are too short. Hammertoes can cause walking problems and can lead to blisters, corns, and sores. Splints and corrective shoes can treat them. In severe cases, you may need surgery to straighten your toes.
Ingrown toenails- Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the nail grow into your skin. They cause pressure and pain along the edges of the nails. The edge of the nail can cut into your skin, causing redness, swelling, pain, discharge, and infection. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is pressure from shoes. Poorly trimmed nails, crowded toes, and recurrent foot injuries from sports such as jogging, walking, or aerobics are among the other causes. Keep your toenails neatly trimmed to prevent ingrown toenails. If you have a persistent problem or if you have a nail infection, you may need medical attention. Surgery to remove part of the toenail and the growth plate can treat serious ingrown toenail problems.
Plantar warts- Plantar warts look like calluses on the ball of the foot or the heel. They may appear to have tiny holes or tiny black dots in the center. Warts are usually painful and can grow singly or in groups. A virus affects the outer layer of skin on the soles of the feet, causing plantar warts. If you are not sure you have a plantar wart or corn, let your doctor decide. They have several ways to eliminate them.
Diabetic foot care
Diabetes patients must avoid foot issues at all costs. Keeping feet healthy is essential and a person must be attentive to foot hygiene. They can take the following steps:
Check your feet every day: Check your feet every day or have someone check for changes or injuries.
Keep your feet clean by washing them every day to avoid illness.
Wear supportive shoes and socks: Protect your feet with socks and shoes at all times. Special shoes might be recommended by a podiatrist to assist avoid abnormalities. Do not apply socks so hard that they restrict blood flow.
Promote blood flow to the feet: put your feet up when sitting, wiggle your toes periodically, and get plenty of exercises. These movements aid in the proper circulation of blood to the foot.
Cut your nails carefully: Cut your toenails in a straight line and keep them short. Rounded nails can grow inward and lead to infection.
Corns and Bunions Care: Treat corns and bunions with care. Corns should never be shaved since this raises the risk of infection.
Protect your feet from extreme temperatures: Exposure to extreme cold and heat can damage the feet of people with diabetes.
Get regular foot exams: Regular medical exams by a doctor are key to preventing infections, amputations, and serious deformities.
Control blood sugar: Uncontrolled blood sugar levels increase the risk of podiatric complications from diabetes.
Avoid Smoking - Smoking negatively affects blood flow to tissues, which can make foot problems worse in people with diabetes.
Senior Consultant Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon, Foot Care Specialist MBBS,MS(General Surgery),DNB(Vascular Surgery) Experience: 6+ Years Hyderabad : Get Directions
Frequently Asked Questions:
People with diabetes must take special care to protect their feet from infection. Diabetes increases the amount of sugar in the blood.
Diabetic foot pain often feels different from other types of foot pain, such as that caused by tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. This is usually a sharp, stabbing pain rather than a dull ache.
Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage caused by diabetes that causes you to lose feeling in your feet. This can be a disaster if you walk without foot protection. Diabetes can also compromise your circulation.
Therefore, a diabetic foot massager is a great way to increase the flexibility and mobility of your feet. Diabetics also often have restricted blood flow to the feet, which massage can help increase.