Caring for the feet is often overlooked by most people apart from cutting toenails from time to time. Out of sight is out of mind with regards to most people and their feet. This attitude is often carried on by people that get diabetes, especially type 2 diabetics. However it is vitally important that they look after their feet. This article will discuss diabetic foot care, why it is important and some guidelines for successful treatment and care.
There are many complications associated with diabetes. These are not directly caused by the disease but are indirect illnesses and diseases that can range from annoying to life threatening. Diabetes affects the blood and because blood travels throughout the body other problems occur.
In terms of the foot, there are two problems that can occur. The first is that the nervous system is affected. This is called peripheral neuropathy and results in nerves becoming damaged. Your entire body can be affected by neuropathy, but the feet and legs generally have the worst symptoms (hence peripheral or outer or extremity). This nerve damage can cause a lose of feeling in the feet. You lose the sensitivity to detect hot and cold or feel normal aches and pains. This is partly why diabetics should check their feet regularly, because the body can’t warn about problems using pain. It also means any problems that go undetected are liable to be untreated and become more infected . Potential small cuts could get aggravated, become bigger or even gangrenous.
Another diabetic complication that affects the feet is poor circulation. The inner walls of blood vessels often become scored by blood high in sugar. This attracts plaque and makes the blood vessels thicker. This means that the circulation of blood is harder. The consistency of blood with high sugar content is also believed to be thicker causing more circulation problems. Blood carries antibodies and nutrients to the body, including the feet. If this circulation is problematic, the extremities are often the most severely impacted. This means that areas of the body like the feet take a longer time to heal.
Thus ongoing treatment and care needs to focus of two aspects. The first is to inspect your feet everyday for any cuts. Keep things like toenails and hard skin (calluses) well trimmed. This should be done by your health care provider. Always wash the feet well and dry them carefully so that dampness doesn’t encourage bacteria to grow.
Preventing any cuts or bruising to occur in the first place is often the best way to deal with diabetic foot problems. Wear shoes and socks that do not aggravate your feet. There are shoes and socks that are designed for diabetes.
Help to circulate the blood in the feet. Simple things like using a footstool to keep them elevated will help. Avoid sitting in positions that may cut off blood supply to the feet, like crossed legs for instance. Do foot exercise every thirty minutes of so. Wiggle the toes, move the feet in a circular motion. Get up from your seat and walk around a bit.