Most of your individual risk for developing foot wounds depends on your overall health. If you have health problems, especially ones that involve your circulation, your risk of foot wounds is much greater.
However, your lifestyle also affects your risk for foot wounds, particularly if you’re prone to engaging in certain riskier behaviors. In this blog, Dr. Kerry E. Berg of Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates explains more about your risk for foot wounds.
Certain lifestyle behaviors affect your risk of getting a foot wound. For example, regularly going without shoes, or wearing shoes without socks, significantly increases your risk of getting a foot wound. Wearing certain types of shoes — particularly flip-flops — is not much better than not wearing shoes at all.
If you work on a lot of home repair projects or in construction environments, you’re also at greater risk of wounding your foot. Any type of environment where you come into contact with rusty nails, for example, presents the risk of a wound. Make sure you’re up to date with your tetanus shots and wear appropriately protective shoes.
Having certain health problems also increases your risk of foot wounds. These health problems fall into a few different broader categories.
Generally speaking, circulation problems of any sort increase your risk of foot wounds. The primary problem associated with foot wounds is arteriosclerosis, or a hardening of your arteries. Sometimes called atherosclerosis, this condition causes your arteries to become stiff, meaning that your blood can’t flow as freely through them.
Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis is often treatable with a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to the conditions that damage your arteries, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, can also increase your risk of developing foot wounds. Diabetes often leads to a condition called neuropathy, which means that you may not be able to feel wounds when they occur to your feet.
Diabetic foot ulcers occur when you have an open wound on your foot that isn’t healing properly because of your diabetes. These ulcers are very common among people with diabetes, affecting about 15 percent of people. You may not feel pain when you have a foot ulcer, but may notice that you have one if you have redness, swelling, or drainage on your socks. This can become a very serious condition and requires immediate medical attention from Dr. Berg.
If the skin on your feet is chronically dry, you’re more at risk of developing a foot wound. Your feet need to be kept moisturized so that your skin can act as a protective barrier.
Other conditions that affect your risk of foot wounds include varicose veins, cracked calluses, a history of foot wounds, and ill-fitting shoes.
If you’re concerned about your risk of foot wounds or believe that you already have one, it’s important to make an appointment with Dr. Kerry E. Berg of Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today. Contact the office or request an appointment online.