If you have diabetes or have a family history of this condition, you should be on the lookout for signs of diabetic foot so you can keep your feet feeling happy no matter what. Below, we’ll list the warning signs to look out for and steps to take— and not to take— should you need diabetic foot care.
What Is Diabetic Foot?
Diabetes can cause damage to nerves and small blood vessels, leading to a condition called peripheral neuropathy. This damage creates a wide variety of issues ranging from vision problems to numbness or tingling in your feet and lower legs.
When someone suffers from diabetic foot, they are showing the symptoms of nerve damage and numbness in their feet, often leading to wound development as day-to-day activities and poorly-fit footwear cause irritation to the skin. Because of the numbness, a diabetic may not notice or treat wounds that appear. Unfortunately, the lack of care can cause major complications with your feet.
Since about half of the patients with diabetes have nerve damage in some part of their body, it’s important to check your feet frequently for signs of problems. In fact, most people with diabetes can avoid serious complications and prevent little annoyances from becoming major complications if they keep their feet in mind.
Signs of Diabetic Foot
The first signs of diabetic foot include slight numbness or tingling. If this symptom is ignored, your feet may face further complications, such as complete loss of feeling or a burning type of diabetic foot pain.
When these first signs appear, it is essential to connect with a podiatrist who can perform a comprehensive diabetic foot exam. Being prepared for a podiatry visit allows you to discuss your concerns even at the first visit and will ensure you receive the proper diabetic foot care.
Unfortunately, failing to take early action means the condition can rapidly develop into foot ulcers or major infections that may arise when small cuts, abrasions, blisters, sores, or even ingrown toenails are not noticed right away. Untreated foot ulcers have significant health consequences. Here are some statistics from 2022 to keep in mind:
- One out of every four diabetes patients will develop at least one foot ulcer.
- Major or minor amputation is necessary almost 25% of the time if the ulcer becomes gangrenous.
- Patients with a diabetic foot disease and vasculitis of the affected foot have a worse prognosis than many common cancers, with the five-year mortality rate reaching as high as 50% for all sufferers.
Since no one wants to become part of these statistics, you, your family, and your doctors should work together to provide appropriate care for your feet.
Diabetic Foot Care Tips for Reducing the Risk of Complications
One of the best lines of defense for diabetic complications is to only wear properly fitting shoes. Although you may want to find the best deals on footwear, your feet are far too valuable to chance that you or a shoe salesperson may make a mistake. Instead, seek out a reputable podiatrist who will evaluate your feet and make recommendations for specialized footwear that allows proper blood flow and doesn’t rub or constrict your foot.
The podiatrist will also recommend regularly-scheduled routine checks, but feeling your feet is up to you. It is essential to include a foot check as part of your daily routine. Take the time to examine each foot from all angles with a sharp eye for any signs of redness, wounds, calluses, corns, or anything that looks out of the ordinary. Make sure you also look at your toenails.
A common infection you may not consider is a seemingly simple ingrown toenail. Although some ingrown toenails can improve with appropriate home treatment, any cutting or removal of ingrown toenails should not be attempted at home, especially for diabetic patients who should always seek medical treatment for any foot wound.
Get the Right Care for Diabetic Foot
If you think you or a loved one has early signs of diabetic foot or have not yet connected with a podiatrist, it’s time to be proactive. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and look at treatment options.