Recognizing the Signs of Diabetic Foot Problems

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Recognizing the Signs of Diabetic Foot Problems

Diabetes affects many parts of the body, including the feet. Without prompt attention, a diabetic foot problem can turn into a serious medical issue. Learn how to recognize the signs so you can get help immediately.

Diabetes is a long-term health issue that affects your body’s ability to use food for energy. People with diabetes have excess sugar (glucose) in their blood. Glucose comes from the food you eat and provides your cells with energy. 

Keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible is the goal of diabetes management. Too much glucose in your blood damages organs, tissues, vessels, and nerves. Because the blood vessels in your feet are tiny, they’re more susceptible to damage, which is why diabetic foot problems are so common.

At Hansen Foot & Ankle in Mill Creek, Washington, our skilled podiatrist Dr. Nathan Hansen provides diabetic foot care to prevent foot problems.

Here, we want to talk about diabetes and the foot, how to spot problems, and how to care for your feet.

Diabetes and foot problems

Though blood sugar is a significant part of diabetes, the problem originates with insulin — a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin helps get glucose into the cells.

People with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood because their pancreas doesn’t produce insulin or the body cannot correctly use it. 

When you have an injury or infection, your body relies on your ability to feel the problem (nerves) so you can seek care and healthy blood flow. If you have diabetes and damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your feet, these warning systems and healing tools may also not work. 

Additionally, your feet are so far from your heart that they’re the last to receive healing elements, a matter made worse when you have damage to the blood vessels. 

Due to these factors, you might not notice an injury, and it may quickly worsen, turning into a severe infection.

Recognizing foot problems

If you have diabetes, check your feet daily for cuts, bruises, and other potential foot issues. Here are some foot issues that may turn into a severe problem if you have diabetes:

Examining your feet daily is the best thing you can do to keep you and your feet healthy. 

Taking care of your feet

Diabetes management requires daily participation, but you’re not alone in your efforts. You have a team of health experts, including your podiatrist, to keep you healthy.

When it comes to taking care of your feet, we encourage:

  • Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and monitoring your blood sugar
  • Examining your feet closely at least once a day 
  • Washing your feet carefully and thoroughly drying them
  • Feeling your feet with your hands for corns and calluses
  • Quitting smoking (it restricts vital blood flow)
  • Wearing shoes that fit well
  • Never going barefoot

Following these guidelines may prevent diabetic foot problems. We also recommend an annual podiatry foot care visit for a thorough examination. Schedule routine foot care needs like trimming your toenails and removing corns and calluses so we can reduce your risk of foot problems.

Most importantly, schedule an appointment immediately when you have a foot injury or suspect a foot infection. Our team specializes in treating diabetic foot ulcers. 

If you have diabetes and need diabetic foot care, we can help. Call our office today or request an appointment online.