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Diabetes Foot Complications

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Foot care is an ongoing issue for people with diabetes. Diabetes reduces blood flow and sensation to the feet.

Numerous foot problems can arise with those living with diabetes. These problems can become degenerative- leading to irreversible, acute complications.

Managing diabetes compels observance to an important, serious care strategy, including intensely critical foot care.

Here is a list of diabetes complications that can occur if proper foot care is not met.

Diabetes Foot Complications:

Neuropathy: Disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness.

Poor Circulation: An inadequacy of blood flow. Inadequate blood flow to a particular area of the body can result in too little oxygen being delivered to that area, a condition known as hypoxia. The term poor circulation may be used to refer to peripheral vascular disease (or peripheral arterial disease), a condition that develops when the arteries that supply blood to the internal organs, arms, and legs become completely or partially blocked as a result of atherosclerosis.

Skin Changes: Diabetes can cause changes in the skin of your foot. At times your foot may become very dry. The skin may peel and crack. The problem is that the nerves that control the oil and moisture in your foot no longer work.

After bathing, dry your feet and seal in the remaining moisture with a thin coat of plain petroleum jelly, an unscented hand cream, or other such products.

Do not put oils or creams between your toes. The extra moisture can lead to infection. Also, don’t soak your feet — that can dry your skin.

Calluses: a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, esp. in an area that has been subjected to friction.

Foot Ulcers: An open sore on your foot. Occurs when cuts or abrasions on your feet are slow to heal because of poor circulation, often associated with nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). Amputation will result without critical foot care.

Amputation: A condition of disability resulting from the loss of one or more limbs.

The American Diabetes Association offers vital tips on caring for your feet.

  • Take care of your diabetes. Work with your health care team to keep your blood glucose in your target range.
  • Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.
  • Be more active. Plan your physical activity program with your health team.
  • Ask your doctor about Medicare coverage for special shoes.
  • Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes.
  • Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes. Read more about skin care.
  • If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them when needed. Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don’t put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two (2) or three (3) times a day. Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time. Don’t smoke.
  • Get started now. Begin taking good care of your feet today.  Set a time every day to check your feet.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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