Diabetes is a chronic and systemic disease that affects 10% of the population in the United States. When you have diabetes, your feet are particularly vulnerable to diabetic neuropathy, which affects 50% of people with the disease. Even worse, some diabetics suffer from life-threatening gangrene and require amputation.
The medical team at LA Orthopaedic Specialists in downtown Los Angeles understands the danger of foot problems for our patients with diabetes. That’s why we want you to understand how diabetes can affect and harm your feet and how our diabetic foot treatment can prevent or mitigate problems.
When you have diabetes, your body has a difficult time regulating blood sugar levels. This situation develops if you can’t produce enough or any insulin (the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels) or if you’ve become resistant to the insulin your body produces.
In diabetics, glucose levels can build up in your blood and damage your blood vessels. Damaged vessels make it a challenge for your body to transport oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to where it needs to go, especially down to your feet.
Diabetic foot problems
Neuropathy is nerve damage, and it’s the most common diabetic foot problem. Peripheral or diabetic neuropathy — which causes foot numbness, tingling, or sensitivity to cold — develops when high levels of blood sugar and triglycerides (fats) in your blood irreparably damage your nerves.
If you have an infection on your feet or if you injure your foot, you might not realize it if you don’t feel anything due to nerve damage. Your injury may not heal properly due to poor blood flow. Without treatment, these seemingly small problems can become dangerous to your health.
Don’t dismiss diabetic foot problems
Early detection and treatment of diabetic foot problems is the best way to prevent them from becoming severe health problems. Seek our medical help if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Numbness, pain, or tingling in your feet
- Changes in skin temperature
- Ulcers that won’t heal
- Fungal infection or warts on your feet
- Foot swelling
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should make regular appointments so we can monitor your foot health and spot problems in their early stages. The earlier we intervene, the better we can prevent serious and life-changing outcomes like gangrene and amputation.
What you can do to prevent diabetic foot problems
You can take steps on your own to increase foot health, too.
- Gently wash and dry your feet daily
- Inspect your feet each day for any changes, sores, or redness
- Always wear foot protection, even indoors
- Wear shoes that don’t crowd or pinch your feet
- Keep your feet dry
- Check and regulate your blood sugar levels
The medical professionals at LA Orthopaedic Specialists can help you safeguard your foot health if you have diabetes. To schedule an appointment, call us at 213-455-8448, or use our online booking tool.