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The Dangers of Self Diagnosis - Home Foot care and Diabetes

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Many healthy individuals wouldn't think of having another person cut their toenails.  You may even experience painful nail borders that you attempt to cut out whenever they hurt.  It is not until that nail becomes infected or the pain is excruciating that most people seen professional intervention from a podiatrist.  Infections are the biggest concern you face when doing foot care at home.  Self diagnosis and treatment is dangerous for anyone, but especially those with diabetes, circulation problems or nerve problems.  Let's examine two instances where self diagnosis and treatment can be problematic.

1. A small cut or scratch.  The bottom of your foot has less blood flow to it due to the thickness of the skin.  This is only complicated by constant pressure to the area when you walk.  In a healthy individual, these problems can be easily overcome by the body.  Diabetes, smoking, and other nerve or vascular problems can provide serious challenges to healing and can require a long time to heal even with professional intervention.  Attempting to heal these injuries with ointment and a bandage can only increase the chance of infection and the length of time to heal.

2. A callus.  While you may use a pumice stone to thin out the thickened skin, there may actually be a plantar wart causing the thinking of skin.  If you have diabetes, this is of special concern because of the breakdown of skin that can occur under the callus.  You may open an ulcer in the skin and cause the area to become infected by attempting to treat it at home.  For the individual without diabetes, the wart can become deeper in the skin.  Warts on the bottom of foot can be difficult to heal when treated early on. They are only more difficult if allowed to persist.

These are just two simple foot problems that can become quite difficult.  If you are living with diabetes, home diagnosis and treatment can have such dire effects as amputation of a foot or leg.  A diabetic should never use a pumice stone for this reason!  Rather, make an appointment at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialist today and avoid the serious complications of home foot care.

Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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