Diabetes and Feet: All You Need to Know
Diabetes and feet don’t go well together. There are several ways the disease can impact your foot health. That’s why our Spring, TX podiatrist’s take so much care with our diabetic patients. That was the case for our patient James P., who recently shared:
“I have been a patient for more than 10 years and have type I diabetes. Dr. Amy Walsh is very knowledgeable and friendly. She helps with making sure my shoes fit properly and that my feet stay in good shape. The staff are nice and prompt. Thanks for helping me take care of my feet!”
Still, we can’t protect your feet if you don’t come in for quarterly visits. (Or more often, if you notice a problem. Why is it so important to stick to your in office diabetic foot exams? Here’s what you need to know.
Diabetes and Feet: Why neglect is risky business
With the rising diabetic population, we’ve seen a steady rise in patients with diabetic foot problems. Why should diabetes make you worry about your feet. Well, research suggest that diabetics could account for 50% of all American patients who undergo foot and leg amputations each year. The problem stems from three important phenomenon, peripheral vascular disease, peripherial neuropathy and inability to fight infections.
First, diabetics are more prone to having high cholesterol levels and are far more likley to develope blockages in the arteries causing decreased blood flow to the feet and legs ( peripheral vascular disease ). Second, uncontrolled diabetes causes damage to the nerves in the feet and legs ( peripherial neuropathy ), resulting in an inability to adequately feel pain or heat. As a result, diabetics may be less likely to feel sharp objects, hot water, or developing blisters on their feet. Hence, diabetics are susceptible to deep wounds ( ulcers ) which left untreated often become seriously infected. The third pitfall for diabetics is high blood sugars will impair the function of white blood cells and make it extremely difficult to fight infection. The result can be an increased likelihood to develope wounds and an inadequate blood supply and immune response to heal them.
Diabetes and Feet: Never Take Shortcuts
Although every diabetic should regularly see a podiatrist, proper care begins at home. Daily foot inspections and control of blood sugar is essential. Diabetics should never walk barefoot or use ill fitting shoes. Remember heat, friction and sharp objects are your enemy. For a detailed list of foot care instructions consult a podiatrist who specializes in the prevention and care of diabetic wounds.
Proper Wound Care for Diabetic Feet
No diabetic wound should be taken lightly. That’s why we can’t overemphasize the importance of immediate medical attention. After all, our wound care specialits may assess the cause of the wound, risk factors that may impair healing, and suggest modalities that may increase the possiblity of successful wound healing.
For more information on this or other foot and ankle issues, or to schedule an appointment for consultation please contact us at our Louetta or Tomball offices.