Find Out What Foot Complications People With Diabetes May Face.
Diabetes is the inability to manufacture or properly use insulin. It impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy. People who suffer from diabetes are at risk for developing foot problems that could lead to serious complications.
While there is no cure for diabetes, you can prevent diabetes complications with proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home. Kirkland podiatrists play a crucial role in helping diabetes patients manage their condition and prevent their foot problems from worsening.
- Neuropathy – Neuropathy is nerve damage that lessens your ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. For example, you could step on a tack and not even feel it. Before you even realize that you have a foot injury, the skin could break down and become infected.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease – Poor blood flow to the arms and legs is called peripheral vascular disease. This circulatory disorder can make your feet less able to fight infection and heal, putting you at risk for developing ulcers and gangrene.
- Foot Ulcers – Foot ulcers typically form on the bottom of the big toe or on the ball of the foot. Neglecting an ulcer can cause infection, which may eventually lead to the loss of a limb. If you find an ulcer on your foot, have it checked out by your podiatrist in Kirkland right away.
- Skin Changes – Diabetes can cause the skin on your feet to become dry, peel, and crack, which allows germs to enter. Apply a moisturizing cream to your feet after bathing to keep them soft, but avoid putting the cream between your toes because it could lead to infection.
- Fungal Toenail Infection – Toenails that have a fungal infection may become thick, discolored, and brittle. The fungus thrives in the dark, warm, and moist environment provided by socks and shoes. Toenail injuries can also increase the risk for fungal infection.
- Athlete’s Foot – Athlete’s foot is another fungus that causes itching, cracking, and redness of the skin between the toes or on the side of the foot. Athlete’s foot germs can enter through cracks of the skin and lead to infection.
- Corns and Calluses – Corns and calluses are a build-up of thick, hardened, and dead skin between the toes or near bony areas of the toes. You can use a pumice stone to gently remove the build-up of tissue.
- Blisters – Blisters form when your shoes rub the same spot on your foot. Blisters can become infected. It’s important to use a skin covering and antibacterial cream to protect blisters and prevent infection.
- Bunions – A bunion is a bony bump that typically affects the inner foot at the base of the big toe. A bunion forms when the big toe is pushed against the next toe, which forces the big toe joint to enlarge and stick out. In some cases, there is additional bone formation. The skin over the bunion can become red, swollen, and sore. Foam padding may be used to protect a bunion from irritation.
- Hammertoes – Hammertoes are toes that are bent due to a weakened muscle. The middle joint of the toe bends and becomes stuck in this position. Hammertoes can cause problems with walking and lead to other problems, like corns and blisters. You can treat hammertoes with splinting and corrective footwear. Surgery may be required to correct severe hammertoes.
- Ingrown Toenails – Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the nail grow into the skin. The edge of the nail may cut the skin and lead to pain, swelling, redness, and infection. The best way to prevent ingrown toenails is by keeping your toenails properly trimmed.
- Plantar Warts – Plantar warts look like calluses and form on the ball of the foot or heel. Plantar warts are caused by a virus and are usually painful. They may develop alone or in clusters.
- Amputation – People with diabetes are far more likely to have their foot or leg amputated than other people because they often suffer from both neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease, which make it easier to get ulcers and infections that could lead to amputations.
Foot Care Tips For Diabetes Patients
If you have diabetes and ever experience any foot problems, it’s important to see your podiatrist in Kirkland right away. Follow your podiatrist’s advice closely when caring for blisters, ulcers, and other foot problems to prevent serious complications.
Inspect your feet on a daily basis to check for sores, cuts, bruises, and toenail changes. Avoid walking barefoot, even in your home, to prevent cuts and infection. Exercise regularly to improve circulation. Anytime you buy new shoes, have them properly measured and fitted because the size and shape of your feet may change over time. If you have diabetes, it’s especially important to wear shoes that fit properly.
Schedule An Appointment With A Kirkland Podiatrist
Seeing a podiatrist in Kirkland for regular checkups is the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy. To schedule an appointment with the Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington, call (425) 678-3877 or fill out our online contact form. We have locations in Kirkland, Redmond, Everett, and Renton.