There are so many different areas of a diabetic’s health they have to be concerned with. One of these is their legs and feet. While diabetics already know this, many are not sure exactly what it entails. To some, as long as their feet are not causing them pain, they are apparently in good health. However, this is not the case.
People diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes spend more days in the hospital with foot infections than with any other complication. At some point in their lives, approximately 15 percent of people with diabetes will actually develop a foot ulcer. Untreated foot infections are dangerous and many times turn into gangrene.
There are a multitude of hidden foot dangers that can seriously affect a diabetic’s health. Not only that, but they can do so in a very short amount of time.
Here are the main ones to be on the lookout for:
Cuts. Cuts on a non-diabetic risk becoming infected. But for a diabetic, this is a serious matter. An infected cut will take much longer to heal and will require more of your body’s healing abilities in order to do so. Having diabetes will restrict these abilities, causing infections to linger.
A cut should be immediately and thoroughly cleaned, dressed and observed closely for healing. Become knowledgeable about over-the-counter products and remedies. Check with your doctor which ones are preferred products and which ones are not.
Ulcers. As ulcers open up, infections quickly set in. Ulcers can widen, causing the infected area to grow. Plus, ulcers can be deep, causing infection to spread into the foot. They require careful and precise attention. If you wonder if you should call your doctor for an appointment to have a foot ulcer checked… you probably should.
Blisters, calluses, corns, etc. All of these can start out as the result of a poorly fitting shoe rubbing against your foot. But unless they are reduced in size, the rubbing will continue to the point the skin thins and opens up. Again, infection is the end result here. It’s false economy to buy cheap, uncomfortable shoes, or to wear shoes that are worn out.
Cracking, red skin between your toes. This can be due to moisture that has collected. This forms a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. Feet have to be allowed to breathe. Wearing of shoes should be alternated so the perspiration is allowed sufficient time to dry. Socks should not be worn more than once.
To keep athlete’s foot at bay, it is often suggested to sprinkle anti-fungal foot powder between your toes. This is where sweat and moisture can accumulate.
Dry skin is as bad as moist skin. The skin will need to be moisturised without leaving residual effects in the shoes and socks for long periods of time. There is a healthy balance that can reached. Any of the skin creams marketed to people with diabetes; creams such as Alpha Keri and Nivea, can do much to keep the skin moist.
Discolored toenails. These act as litmus paper, notifying you that something foreign is present. Yellowish nails mean that bacteria is present. It has to be dealt with or the condition is sure to worsen.
Ingrown nails will certainly become infected. In the case of a diabetic, an infected nail left untreated long enough could result in the loss of the nail, and more. If you suffer an ingrown toenail or other foot problem, do not hesitate to see a podiatrist.