Millions of Americans live with diabetes. Diabetics face many possible long-term health effects, most commonly with their feet. If you have diabetes, it’s important to take care of your feet.
Certain problems are more likely to affect your feet if you have diabetes. Dr. Kerry Berg at Intermountain Foot & Ankle in Colorado Springs, Colorado, provides a list of the most common foot problems that diabetics need to keep an eye on.
Like all other parts of the body, your feet contain a lot of nerve endings. One of the most common effects of diabetes is that high levels of glucose in your blood can damage the nerves in your feet. When the nerves in your feet are damaged, this is called neuropathy.
When you have neuropathy, you may not be able to feel injuries to your feet. This can cause injuries to get worse or even become infected. Untreated foot injuries that become infected can go deeper through layers of skin, even infecting your bones. Untreated foot wounds can also change your gait, which can put even more pressure on your feet.
People with diabetes experience reduced blood flow to their feet, a condition called peripheral artery disease. Less blood flow means that your feet are more prone to certain ailments. Some of the possible results of peripheral artery disease include calluses, athlete’s foot, corns, and blisters. You may be able to tell that you have peripheral artery disease if your feet are pale and cold to the touch or you experience leg pain while walking.
All of these can get worse if you don’t pay attention to your foot care. Examine your feet regularly and apply lotion after showering or bathing. Regularly see Dr. Berg for professional evaluation as well. A podiatrist is an important member of a diabetic’s health care team.
Ulcers on your feet are common when you have diabetes. While there are different ways to handle foot ulcers, the one thing you should never do is ignore them. Ulcers most commonly occur on the ball of your foot or under your big toe.
A foot ulcer is a break in the skin or a deep sore that doesn’t heal. You need to call Dr. Berg immediately if you think you have a foot ulcer. Depending on the state of your skin, she may perform an X-ray or choose to clean out the wound. You may be given topical medication or oral antibiotics to fight infection. You may also be fitted for special shoes or inserts to take pressure off your feet.
Ingrown toenails are more common if you have diabetes. Make sure to trim your toenails carefully, not cutting them too short. If you have an ingrown toenail, the nail may grow into the skin and become infected. Wear well-fitting shoes while walking or doing exercises such as aerobics. Sometimes, you may need Dr. Berg to help treat an ingrown toenail.
Diabetes causes numerous changes to your feet. Even though your feet may be far from your mind, caring for them is extremely important when you have diabetes. For diabetic foot care in the Colorado Springs area, call our office today or book an appointment online.