When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you are likely primarily concerned with your diet and how you can better keep your blood sugar at appropriate and safe levels. However, diabetes can affect a wide variety of areas of the body that may seem unrelated to your blood sugar, including your feet. While most people do not put much thought into taking care of their feet on a regular basis, when you have diabetes, proper foot care becomes a major part of your health routine. Get to know some of the foot issues and conditions that should watch out for when you have diabetes so that you can avoid major health crises in the future.
To most people without diabetes, ingrown toenails are a nuisance that can be painful but rarely cause any serious health problems. However, when you have diabetes, this may not be the case.
An ingrown toenail is a condition that occurs when your toenail curves in towards the skin and grows into the skin. This usually occurs along the sides of the nail. Because the nail is breaking the skin when it grows into it, the condition can cause redness and pain. Ingrown toenails also have a tendency to become inflamed and even infected.
For a person with diabetes, an ingrown toenail can be a major problem. The potential for infection is high with an ingrown toenail and because diabetes can cause poor circulation, so the infection can get out of control quickly. Additionally, you could cause a worse infection by trying to cut out the ingrown toenail yourself when you have diabetes. Having a podiatrist do so can prevent such issues and help to get you treatment for any infection as quickly as possible.
Blisters and Calluses
Many people develop blisters from ill-fitting shoes or from walking around barefoot. Again, normally this would just be a nuisance. But with diabetes, an open sore like a broken blister can cause a serious infection that could even lead to the necessity of amputation.
Similarly, calluses can cause major foot problems. These tough areas of built up skin cells are tempting to rub or slough off with a pumice stone or other device. However, this process done at home can lead to potential fungal or bacterial infections. Calluses should be dealt with by a podiatrist or general practitioner that can sterilize the instruments as well as your foot before callus removal.
For both blisters and calluses, the best solution is prevention. Wearing diabetic footwear that fits well and does not rub or chafe, along with breathable cotton socks (or compression socks if your circulation requires them),will help protect your feet from blisters and calluses. Shoe inserts can also help if you are on your feet a great deal of the time to provide additional support and prevent sores.
Now that you know more about foot issues to watch out for when you have diabetes, you can better care for your feet and overall health now and in the future.
For more information and tips, contact a podiatry clinic in your area, such as Accurate Foot & Diabetic Care.