When you have diabetes, your health changes in many ways. But one thing you might not have expected was how diabetes affects your feet.
Nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, is one of the unfortunate side effects of diabetes. High levels of blood sugar attack your peripheral nerves (the nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord), causing them to malfunction.
The results? Pain, loss of sensation, and slow wound healing to name a few. These symptoms can develop virtually anywhere, but they affect your feet most often.
Nearly half of all diabetics have some type of peripheral neuropathy. With numbers like those, it’s important to have neuropathy experts on your diabetic care team.
Though there’s no substitute for the care and expertise of our team at the US Neuropathy Centers, much of your diabetes management relies on you. Here, we take a closer look at a few ways you can take care of your feet and manage diabetic neuropathy outside of our office.
One of the most dangerous complications of diabetic neuropathy is loss of sensation. When you lose feeling in your feet, it’s difficult (and sometimes impossible) to know if you’ve injured your feet. That means you could be walking around with an open wound and not realize it.
That’s why we recommend you take the time to carefully inspect and clean your feet every day. Pay close attention to any new cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems, and alert us if you notice anything.
When you clean your feet, always use warm water, cut your nails carefully, and use a soft sponge or washcloth to wash and dry them.
It’s also a good idea to inspect your footwear every day, checking for pebbles and other objects that could injure your feet.
Parched feet are primed for cuts and scrapes, so daily moisturizing is a key part of any diabetic foot care regimen. Just be careful not to moisturize between your toes, as it could encourage a fungal infection.
It may be tempting to hack off that pesky hangnail or use a medicated pad to deal with corns and calluses, but these DIY interventions do more harm than good. Instead, consult our team about any nail problems you have.
Warm, dry feet are a must if you have diabetes and want to avoid foot problems. Never let your feet linger in wet snow or rain puddles, avoid going anywhere barefoot, and invest in a pair of supportive socks that keep your feet protected and cozy.
Perhaps the best thing you can do for your feet and the rest of your body is to stay on top of your diabetes. That means eating a healthy diet, quitting harmful lifestyle habits, managing your blood sugar, and making regular trips to your doctor.
Do you have more questions about how diabetes is affecting your body? We’d love to talk with you. Call or click today to schedule an appointment at our Marietta, Georgia, office in suburban Atlanta.