Living well with diabetes means making dietary and lifestyle changes to manage your blood sugar and taking extra to lower the risk of diabetic foot complications. Patients with diabetes must work with a healthcare professional to take good care of their feet.
The team of orthopedic physicians here at LA Orthopaedic Specialists provides top-quality diabetic food care. Find out how having diabetes affects your feet and the steps you can take to keep your feet as healthy as possible.
Diabetes and peripheral nerves
Persistently elevated glucose can damage peripheral nerves that transmit sensory information about the legs and feet. Damage to peripheral nerves raises the risk of foot complications from reduced sensation to the feet. Symptoms of peripheral nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) in the lower extremities include:
- Tingling sensations
- Increased sensitivity
- Reduced ability to feel hot and cold
Without adequate sensory function, patients with diabetes may not feel small cuts, bumps, or bruises. This means a tiny injury may go unnoticed and may cause significant problems if it isn’t treated promptly.
Diabetes and blood vessels
Diabetes can damage blood vessels, including those that supply blood to the lower extremities. Reduced blood flow to your legs and feet can cause problems. Without adequate blood flow, small cuts may take a long time to heal, raising the chances of complications such as infection.
Diabetic foot ulcers are common in people with diabetes and require immediate medical attention to manage. Left untreated, a small sore can quickly grow large and put your health at risk. A foot ulcer can lead to serious infection, and in severe cases, amputation may be necessary. If you notice a sore, it’s critical to let your provider know.
Steps to care for your feet
The dangerous combination of neuropathy, poor circulation, and a tendency toward infection can cause serious foot problems. When these issues aren’t managed quickly, there can be severe health consequences.
Good foot care is paramount for living well with diabetes. Adopting a daily foot care routine can help you to keep your feet healthy.
Here are some steps you can take to care of your feet if you have diabetes:
- Check your feet daily for bruises, cuts, and sores
- Apply moisturizer to the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes
- Wear properly fitted, well-ventilated shoes
- Avoid removing calluses or corns; have your doctor do this
- Exercise your feet while you’re sitting
- Cut your toenails straight across and never too short
- Keep regular appointments with your healthcare providers
Making good foot care part of your regular daily routine will ensure that your feet stay healthy and you avoid potential complications.
Diabetes and foot care go hand-in-hand. So count on the team at LA Orthopaedic Specialists to help you keep your feet in tip-top shape. To get started, call 213-455-8448 to schedule a visit with one of our providers. Prospective and existing patients can also send your booking request here on our website.