Living with diabetes is complicated. You have to watch what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise, and more. The disease reaches every area of life. It also touches every corner of your body. The elevated sugar levels that occur in diabetes damage your blood vessels, break down tissues, and impair nerves throughout your body, but especially in your extremities—including in your lower limbs. This can lead to serious complications from otherwise small conditions. Fortunately, proper diabetic foot care can make a significant difference in your health and comfort.
When you struggle with diabetes, your feet are at high risk for painful and permanent harm. Damage inside your body wreaks havoc, but even small injuries from outside your body can prove to be dangerous problems. Nerves that have been impaired by fluctuating sugars are not able to do their jobs. They can painfully misfire and leave your muscles weak, but they can also leave your feet numb and unable to feel when damage is occurring. You may develop blisters or a cut—or even a small fracture—and never notice. This is called neuropathy.
Decreased circulation from diabetes adds to this. A lack of blood flow means that your lower limb tissues are not getting sufficient nutrients to both stay healthy and repair themselves when something does go wrong. Any injury that develops, no matter how small, now becomes a dangerous opening for infection, because your body can’t heal the issue fast enough. Worse, if it does become infected, your compromised immune system may not be able to fight off the problem and repair the damage at the same time. Eventually this could lead to amputation of a foot.
Invested Foot Care
Unfortunately, deep ulcers, Charcot foot, calluses, heel fissures, and foot deformities are all common among people with diabetes, especially if they do not take proper care of their lower limbs. The key to avoiding complications is to focus on preventative diabetic foot care and seek help for any problem, no matter how small, immediately after you discover it. Podiatric expert Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS can help you establish a plan for maintaining your foot health and treat conditions before they get out of hand.
Remember to carefully wash and inspect your feet every day. Clean them thoroughly with warm (not hot) water, and dry the completely with a towel. If your skin is frequently dry, you might want to consider using a regular moisturizer. Take the time as you wash them to inspect your feet for small sores, cuts, cracks, bumps, skin discoloration, nail changes, or any other visible alterations. When you do find something, don’t ignore it—consult the experts at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists about how to proceed. You should also have regular foot exams to have your feet checked and your calluses and nails cared for by professionals. That way they can catch any changes you might have missed, as well as treat simple problems without accidentally causing others.
The Austin experts in diabetic foot care can also help you to determine any special shoe needs. You will need to be sure that your feet are properly cushioned and supported whenever you are up and about. Good shoes can make a significant different in preventing potential problems in your lower limbs.
If you are a diabetic and you haven’t had your feet checked in a while, or you are noticing pain or changes in your lower limbs, contact Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists right away. Many of the foot problems that lead to hospitalization, and even amputation, start out small and preventable. Rather than run the risk of serious injury, take care of your feet now and stay healthy. Call our Austin office at (512) 328-8900, or visit our website contact page for an appointment or more information today.