It goes without saying that with Diabetes comes elevated blood sugar levels. Over time, and if uncontrolled, this can lead to Neuropathy and other foot issues.
Because the feet are necessary for keeping us mobile, it’s impertinent to have your feet checked, doing it at home and also annually by a foot specialist.
Neuropathy And Complications
This is a condition that makes your feet or hands numb.
Over time, neuropathy can occur due to high blood sugar levels causing damage to your nerves. By not feeling pain nor sensation in your feet you may go without noticing wounds, injuries, or other irritations (warts, blisters, corns, and ulcers) that can occur. Over time, untreated wounds or injuries can become infected and cause more pain and discomfort.
Neuropathy also causes dry skin to occur. This is because the nerves responsible for receiving the brain’s signals to sweat are impaired. Overly dry skin cracks and allow germs to enter not only the feet, but into the body as well. Germs also cause infections and other issues.
Another effect of neuropathy is causing damage to the shape of the feet, which can lead to ill-fitting shoes which can cause bunions or calluses.
The concerns of neuropathy alone make a strong case for why foot care is of utter importance in diabetic people. If infections occur and go untreated they can lead to more serious complications such as gangrene and later, amputation.
To avoid this, it’s vital to always practice diabetic foot care and do regular checkups.
People with diabetes also tend to get poor circulation due to elevated sugar levels. This issue alone affects the body’s ability to fight off infections that are occurring, and impact wound healing. Therefore, a simple injury to the foot can take longer than normal to heal in a person with diabetes.
This becomes a cause for concern as foot infections can become serious, as mentioned above.
Diabetic Foot Exams
Daily it’s recommended that you personally check your feet for cuts, wounds, changes, and also ensure you practice foot health care. For general information on diabetes and foot care, click here.
Immediate action should be taken if you are showing any of the following symptoms:
- blister, cut, or sore that doesn’t start to heal after a few days
- foot injury
- callus with dried blood inside it
- a sore that has changed color or has an odor
In addition, it’s recommended to have your feet checked professionally as well. A professional will do a thorough exam to ensure your feet are healthy, and/or provide treatment as needed.
Your provider should check the pulses in your feet and your reflexes at least once a year, as well as look for:
- Thick toenails
- Loss of feeling anywhere in your feet
- Pain when walking
With previous foot ulcers, it’s recommended to increase the exam frequency to every 3 to 6 months.
During a thorough foot exam there are a number of assessments that we would recommend:
- General Assessment
- Dermatological Assessment
- Neurological Assessment
- Musculoskeletal Assessment
- Vascular Assessment
Each of the above components is vital to keep your feet healthy and avoid the foot-related complications that can occur with diabetes. Learn more about these assessments here.
Here at the Foot & Ankle Specialists of Illinois, we can help you manage a number of Diabetic related foot and ankle conditions. We have a number of services to help treat these conditions including cast fittings to help with off-loading foot pressure, vascular testing, and more.