According to the American Diabetes Association, 24 million Americans have diabetes. This common disease is also the leading cause of amputations of toes, feet, and legs.
As frightening as that sounds, there’s hope. With proper care, you can live an active, healthy life. More importantly, you can avoid becoming one of the many diabetics who has to have an amputation.
Top Risks for Diabetic Feet
As a person with diabetes, your feet face unique risks. Understanding these risks is the best way to help you avoid the common foot problems that accompany this disease. It is also the best way to prevent serious and life-changing consequences of diabetes.
Here are some of the most common foot health risks that people with diabetes must deal with:
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Many diabetics have Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). This disease reduces blood flow and circulation. As a result, PAD limits the amount of blood flow that makes it to your feet, causing serious side effects, including infections and neuropathy.
Any wound, large or small, can lead to a serious infection. Blisters, cuts, and abrasions are more dangerous for diabetics because blood flow to the feet is limited. That means that cuts cannot heal properly, increasing the risk of infection and foot ulcers.
Inspecting your feet daily for signs of redness, cuts to the skin, or other types of problems is the best way to prevent an infection.
Do you ever feel a burning sensation in your feet? Do you have numbness or tingling in your feet? You might have neuropathy.
Neuropathy occurs when your nerves fail to function properly. This is especially dangerous because without feeling blisters, cuts, or abrasions, you might be at a heightened risk of infection. You might also experience other common foot problems, such as hammertoe or Charcot foot.
This is a foot condition that causes your foot to change its shape. Brittle bones that fracture and disintegrate usually cause this. The boney prominences create small pressure points, causing a lot of pain for diabetics.
Daily Care Tips for Your Diabetic Foot
With daily care, you can minimize your risk of having a foot ulcer or infection. Here are a few tips to help you have healthy feet every day:
Form a habit of inspecting your feet daily for sores, cuts, or red spots.
Always keep your feet dry and clean. Give the spaces between your toes extra care and attention.
Keep your feet warm by wearing socks around the house. Do not use electric heating pads or hot water bottles, as that may cause excess moisture.
Exercise, exercise, exercise! This is the best way to stimulate blood flow to your feet.
Do not cut your toenails around the corners or you could get an ingrown toenail. Cut them straight across or have a podiatrist give you a pedicure.
Encourage blood circulation by dropping unhealthy habits such as smoking or sitting cross legged for a long period of time.
If you notice any changes in your feet, call either our Roanoke office at 855-997-2367 right away to schedule your appointment. The sooner you get seen by a podiatrist, the better your chances are of avoiding an infection or serious foot problem.