“Diabetes is a chronic condition that can result in multiple complications if improperly managed,” says Dr. Bella Zimilevich MD. With type I diabetes, pancreatic cells are unable to produce insulin in order to regulate blood sugar levels. With type II diabetes, the body cannot use insulin properly. Some women get gestational diabetes while they are pregnant, but the condition goes away later. No matter which type of diabetes you have, you will be more likely to suffer diabetes foot complications than someone who does not have the condition.
Why is diabetes foot care so important?
When a person has diabetes, the poor circulation and high blood sugar can lead to nerve damage in a condition called “neuropathy.” Once the feet develop this numbness, they fail to transmit information to the brain when there is an injury like a blister, cut, scrape, ingrown toenail, fungus, callus, infection, or foot ulcer. From there, a skin aberration can get so infected that amputation is the only cure.
About Diabetic Foot Amputations…
Almost 27% of diabetics develop peripheral neuropathy and more than 50% of those develop foot ulcers, gangrene and amputation, according to a World Health Organization statistic cited by the Times of India. The American Diabetes Association says 85% of all diabetic amputations can be avoided with proper diabetic foot care.
Diabetes Foot Care: Preventing Injury
“Don’t walk barefoot, and that means if you have house slippers make sure they’re thick enough that a tack couldn’t go through and into your foot,” says Karen Farac, D.P.M., a podiatrist in Vallejo, Calfornia. “Dry your feet carefully and apply lotion no longer than 10 minutes after you get out of the shower so that moisture is sealed in. Use a mirror to check your feet every day and have an annual foot exam by a podiatrist, more frequently if you have problems. It’s really just simple things that make the world of difference in diabetic foot care.”
Other valuable tips include:
- Shoe-shopping toward the end of the day, when feet are most swollen, to get a better fit.
- Opt for custom-made shoes or custom-made inserts molded by a podiatrist.
- Check for pebbles or raised / worn-out materials inside the shoe that could cut into the foot.
- Use a SteriShoe UV shoe light to limit infection by killing bacteria, fungus and microbes living inside the shoes.
- Keep blood sugar levels under control.
- Check the feet daily for signs of wear and tear.
- Call a podiatrist at the first sign of trouble.