Your feet carry you through life. Taking good care of them over the years helps you avoid issues from acute injury to chronic pain — but did you know that foot care is extra important when you have diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to process sugar, and it can increase your risk of various complications that affect your feet. If left unmanaged, these complications can result in serious health issues, so taking extra care of your feet is essential.
Our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas is here to help. We specialize in diabetes management and wound care, and we can help you understand the risks of diabetes and how to protect your foot health.
How diabetes can affect your feet
It’s essential to prioritize foot care when you have diabetes. Why? Because it increases your risk of some serious complications, like:
Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common diabetes complications. Over time, high blood sugar damages the nerves in your extremities, including your feet.
Neuropathy can cause loss of sensation in your feet, making it difficult to detect injuries or infections. Even minor cuts and small blisters can go unnoticed, increasing your risk of slow-healing infections or ulcers.
Reduced blood circulation
Diabetes can also limit blood circulation, particularly in your lower extremities. Poor circulation makes it harder for your body to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to your feet, often resulting in an increased risk of infections and slow wound healing.
Foot ulcers and infections
Because of neuropathy and poor blood circulation, having diabetes increases your risk of foot ulcers. An ulcer is a sore that doesn’t heal or keeps coming back.
Ulcers are slow to heal, and they can easily become infected. An infected ulcer may lead to more severe complications, including cellulitis, deep tissue infections, and even gangrene. In extreme cases, amputation may be necessary.
Charcot foot develops when the bones of your foot get weak, causing fractures and deformities. This condition often goes unnoticed due to neuropathy, and if left untreated, it can cause significant disability and impair your mobility over time.
How to take care of your feet when you have diabetes
Following a proactive diabetes management plan is the best way to maintain your health and lower your risk of complications. Our team is here to help you keep your blood sugar levels within your target range, consistently monitoring and adjusting your treatment plan as needed.
Along with proactive diabetes management, make sure you:
Maintain good foot hygiene
Wash your feet every day with warm water and mild soap. Dry them thoroughly, making sure to get between your toes. If your feet are dry, use a light moisturizer to help prevent cracking.
Trim your toenails regularly. Always cut them straight across and avoid cutting them too short to prevent ingrown toenails. If you have difficulty trimming your nails, ask our team about ways to make nail trimming easier.
Choose supportive footwear
Wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes with adequate support and a roomy toe box. Avoid high heels, tight shoes, or shoes made of stiff materials that can cause pressure points or restrict blood circulation.
Never walk barefoot, even at home. Because diabetic feet are more vulnerable to injury, always wear socks and shoes to protect your feet from potential hazards.
Do daily foot inspections
Get in the habit of examining your feet every day. Look for any signs of redness, blisters, cuts, sores, or changes in skin color or temperature. Use a mirror or ask for help if you have trouble seeing any parts of your feet. If you notice anything unusual, tell our team.
Get regular professional foot exams
The American Diabetes Association recommends annual foot exams for people with diabetes. Regular professional exams are the best way to thoroughly assess your foot health, identify any potential issues, and start getting the treatment you need.
When you have diabetes, prioritizing foot care helps you avoid complications that can significantly impact your quality of life. Get a personalized treatment plan and foot care tips with an appointment at Medical Associates Of North Texas. Call our Fort Worth, Texas, office at 972-433-7178 or send us a message online to learn more.