At US Neuropathy Centers, we’ve seen it all, so we know exactly what you’re up against when it comes to diabetes and its impact on your feet.
About half of all diabetics have some kind of nerve damage due to their condition. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or have lived with it for some time, it's important to understand what’s at risk.
Here, Drs. Stephen Barrett and Sequoia DuCasse walk through the finer points of diabetic foot care to help you understand what to expect and how to care for your feet.
Diabetes and your feet
When you have diabetes, your body can’t properly process glucose, which can lead to high blood sugar levels. Over time, this causes nerve and blood vessel damage, making it harder for blood to flow to your feet and for your nerves to send signals properly.
As a result, you may develop foot problems that can be serious if left untreated.
One of the most common foot problems associated with diabetes is neuropathy, a nerve condition that can cause numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in your feet.
Neuropathy is especially dangerous because it can make it hard to feel injuries or infections, leading to serious complications like ulcers or even amputations.
Another common foot problem associated with diabetes is poor circulation, which can cause your feet to become cold, discolored, or even develop sores or wounds that take longer to heal.
Diabetes can also weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight infections.
How can I protect my feet?
First and foremost, it's essential to manage your diabetes as best you can to lower your risk of nerve damage, poor circulation, and other foot problems associated with diabetes.
You can do this by monitoring your blood sugar regularly, taking medications as prescribed, and making healthy lifestyle choices like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking.
We also recommend you check your feet regularly for any signs of injury or infection, such as cuts, blisters, or sores, and changes in color or temperature. If you notice anything unusual, make an appointment with us immediately.
Also, take steps to keep your feet as clean and dry as possible to help prevent infections. Wash your feet daily with warm water and mild soap, dry them thoroughly (especially between your toes), and apply lotion to keep your skin soft and moisturized. But be careful not to apply too much lotion.
Proper footwear is also important for protecting your feet if you have diabetes. This means choosing shoes that fit well, provide good support, and don't rub or pinch your feet. Avoid walking barefoot, even at home, as this can increase your risk of injury or infection.
Finally, get regular foot exams, so your health care team can catch problems early on and can prevent them from worsening.
During a foot exam, a member of our team or your podiatrist checks for signs of neuropathy, poor circulation, or other foot problems associated with diabetes. They may also recommend custom orthotics or other devices to help support your feet and prevent further damage.
The bottom line
Diabetes can take a significant toll on your feet, but there are steps you can take to protect them. If you have diabetes, don't neglect your feet — take good care of them to stay healthy and active for years to come.
If you have concerns about your foot health, call or click to schedule an appointment today with our experts in Marietta, Georgia.