Being Diabetic Means Special Care For Feet
In people with diabetes, the most common occurrence of foot problems happens from neuropathy. Neuropathy results in the loss of feeling in the feet and though sometimes foot pain can be felt, diabetic nerve damage lessens the ability to feel pain. Foot problems can occur when a foot injury is not felt due to the loss of feeling from neuropathy. Foot injuries might go un-noticed until the skin has broken down and is becomes infected. The nerve damage from neuropathy can cause the feet to become shaped differently, even the toes. Special shoes are created for feet deformed by neuropathy and forcing deformed feet and toes into regular shoes can cause foot problems. Diabetics suffer from many foot ailments; diabetes changes the skin on the feet, making them very dry. The skin may crack and peel due to the loss of nerves that control the moisture and oil content. Diabetics are urged to apply unscented moisturizer after bathing to seal in moisture and avoid the drying and cracking of the feet.
Calluses build up faster and occur more often for people who suffer from diabetes. If calluses are not trimmed and taken care of properly, the skin will thicken and turn into an ulcer or open sore. The calluses occur because of the high-pressure areas under the foot. A health care provider should remove a diabetics callus to avoid infection and ulcers. Using a pumice stone every day when the feet are wet is the best way to avoid the build up of calluses and keep them under control. For diabetics it is important to apply lotion or petroleum jelly right after use of a pumice stone to lock in the moisture.
A more severe diabetic foot problem is ulcers. These open sores usually occur on the bottom of the big toe or the ball of the foot. Some ill fitting shoes can cause ulcers on the sides of the feet and all ulcers should be taken very seriously. While the ulcer may not hurt, it can become infected and lead to the loss of a limb. It is important to for a diabetic to stay off of the foot with an ulcer because pressure and use will force the infection deeper into the foot and it can infect the bone. Special footwear may be given to protect the ulcer until it heals and even after the infection has subsided and healed, the footwear should be worn to avoid the breakdown of the scar tissue and the return of the ulcer.
Diabetes causes poor circulation and is makes it more difficult to heal and fight infection. The blood vessels of the legs and feet narrow and harden, which makes it difficult for white blood cells to go to the site of an infection. All of these factors contribute to the fact that a diabetic is more likely to have a leg or foot amputated. The poor circulation many diabetics suffer from and the nerve damage attributes to this large number of amputations because of the resulting foot ulcers and infections. Diabetic foot problems are increased by smoking. Those that do have a extremely high chance of having a limb amputated. Smoking decreases blood flow, affects the small blood vessels, and causes wounds to heal slower than normal.
Foot Care Prevention
The best thing to prevent diabetes related foot problems is to wear proper fitting footwear and exercise to keep circulation and fresh blood going to the feet. People with open sores should not exercise with them and stay off their feet until the ulcer has healed.