How Do Diabetic Foot Conditions Happen?April 22, 2016
You may have heard that diabetes can cause damage to the feet. Diabetes is a condition associated with issues surrounding blood sugar regulation, so it may seem strange that diabetes can also result in problems like foot ulcers, infections, and gangrene. Understanding the cause of diabetic foot problems and how you can keep your feet healthy can help you take care of your body and live with diabetes.
How do diabetic foot conditions happen?
People with diabetes often experience hardening of the arteries in peripheral parts of the body. The resulting poor circulation and lack of oxygen can lead to foot ulcers and even tissue death.
At the same time, people with diabetes experience nerve damage that can result in reduced sensation in the feet and legs. In other words, a patient with diabetes could have an ulcerated injury on the foot and be unaware of its existence due to numbness in the feet. In severe cases, diabetic patients don’t catch their injuries until parts of the foot—or the entire foot—must be amputated.
What can you do to avoid diabetes-related foot problems?
There are many ways that patients with diabetes can avoid foot problems, or prevent foot problems from becoming severe. Some methods include:
- Clean your feet well. Washing feet every night at bath time or during the shower will help keep cuts from becoming infected. If your skin is dry, use lotion recommended by your foot doctor. Do not put lotion between the toes, because this can cause infections.
- Perform inspections. Inspect your feet every day after bathing procedures.
- Wear the right footwear. Your foot doctor will likely recommend special types of shoes and socks. Always wear doctor recommended shoes and socks, and avoid any open-toed shoes like sandals.
- Maintain good communication with your foot doctor. Show your foot doctor problems with your feet as they come up. Do not wait to see your doctor if your foot develops a sore or an ulcer. Even if your feet seem fine and free of sores, you should still see your podiatrist on a quarterly basis.
If you live in Anchorage, contact your physician at Anchorage Foot & Ankle. With years of experience treating patients with diabetes-related foot conditions, Dr. Heather can help you maintain proper foot health. Call us today at (907) 344-2155 to make an appointment.