Diabetes mellitus is a disease or rather several diseases that are characterized by high levels of blood sugar. Those high levels can damage nerves, kidneys, blood vessels and eyes. It impairs the body’s ability to fight infections, and over time, if untreated, can damage several organs.
Causes of foot problems in diabetics
One of the characteristics of this disease is that sometimes it prevents the person from feeling their feet. This can be dangerous in case the feet get injured, especially because oil and sweat production of the skin in the feet is reduced. The pressure to the bones, muscles and joints is abnormal and can lead to breakdown of the skin and development of lesions.
Wounds on feet are difficult to treat in diabetics because of the damage the disease has caused to blood vessels and the immune systems, so diabetes patients are more prone to infections, which can even lead to gangrene and loss of toes. Antibiotics do not always help, because the blood flow is so poor, so in some cases all these factors combined result in amputation.
People who suffer from diabetes must take special care of their feet and inspect them regularly. Any injury, damage or abnormality should be reported to a physician.
Self-care at home
One of the most important thing for preventing foot-related complications in diabetics is regular examination of the feet. It should be done daily and especially after traumas, no matter how minor they may be.
It is also advised to use water-based moisturizer to prevent dry and cracked skin, but not between the toes. Socks should be made of natural materials like cotton and wool, and not synthetic. Elastic socks should be avoided because they reduce the blood flow.
All rooms at home should be cleaned from any obstacles that may cause bumping or tripping over.
Nails should be trimmed short with a safety clipper and not with scissors. Their shape should be straight and not round.
Footwear should be comfortable, sturdy, with enough space at the tip to be able to wiggle the toes, but not too big either. There are even shoe stores that specialize in footwear for diabetes patients.
Exercise, reasonable diet based on the doctor’s recommendations and following strict rules about foods suitable for diabetics is very important. Smoking is not recommended because it accelerates the damage to blood vessels.
As mentioned above, any abnormality on the feet, trauma or injuries should be reported to a physician as soon as possible. If the infection has already developed, doctors may prescribe antibiotics, oral or IV, and other surgical procedures, especially in severe cases, may consist of surgical debridement, improvement of circulation through surgery or medication, special dressings and similar.