How to Avoid Complications with Diabetic Foot
Diabetes, as a chronic condition, comes with many potential complications if not adequately managed. Among these, diabetic foot complications are particularly prevalent and potentially severe. It can lead to painful infections and, in the worst case, amputations. Thus, comprehensive foot care for those with diabetes is a crucial preventative measure that should not be underestimated. This article discusses the ways to avoid complications with diabetic foot.
According to the American Diabetes Association 1, approximately 10% of people with diabetes will have a diabetic foot ulcer. This highlights the importance of regular foot check-ups and consistent care.
Understanding Diabetic Foot
Diabetic foot is a condition caused by nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation, common in those with diabetes. Persistent high blood sugar levels can harm nerves and blood vessels in the feet, leading to numbness and diminished blood flow. This creates the perfect environment for sores, ulcers, and infections, with slow healing rates due to the reduced blood supply .
- Regular Inspections. Examine your feet daily for any signs of injury, like cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Pay special attention to the soles and between the toes. Use a mirror or ask someone to help if you have trouble seeing all parts of your feet.
- Manage your Blood Sugar Levels. Keeping blood sugar levels within the target range can significantly reduce the risk of nerve damage and poor circulation, both of which contribute to foot complications.
- Proper Foot Hygiene. Clean your feet daily with lukewarm water and mild soap. Avoid soaking your feet, which could lead to skin dryness and cracking. After washing, dry your feet thoroughly, particularly between the toes, to prevent fungal infections.
- Moisturize Your Feet. Apply a good moisturizer to prevent dry and cracked skin, but avoid applying it between the toes to prevent fungal growth.
- Proper Footwear. Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet. Always check inside your shoes before wearing them to ensure they are free of pebbles or other small objects that can cause sores or blisters. Avoid walking barefoot to protect your feet from injuries.
- Regular Podiatry Check-ups. Regular check-ups with a podiatrist can catch early signs of foot problems. These professionals can provide additional advice tailored to your specific needs and conditions.
- Stay Active. Regular physical activity improves circulation in your feet. However, choose foot-friendly activities like swimming or cycling over high-impact exercises.