Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

The Diabetic Foot

Diabetes affects the body in many ways. The feet are not exempt from the damaging effects of diabetes. With proper care, many foot problems can be avoided. Any foot problems that arise should receive medical attention.

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage due to diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy limits the individual’s ability to feel cold, pain, or heat in the extremities. A sore or cut on the foot may be neglected since the person may not feel the injury.

Diabetes causes poor circulation. Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a disease that impacts the circulation to the extremities. It is commonly caused by diabetes. The decrease in circulation reduces the body’s ability to heal from sores and cuts to the extremities, such as the feet.

Peripheral vascular disease can be worsened by smoking since smoking constricts blood vessels.
Sores and cuts on the feet of someone with diabetes can become easily infected. This is because the person may not even feel the cut or sore. The injury is likely to get worse without any treatment. Once it becomes infected, the extra glucose encourages the infection. The poor circulation limits the ability for the injury to heal.

If the infection persists, gangrene can develop. Gangrene causes the death of the tissue around the cut or sore. The area may become black and emit a foul odor. Amputation may be necessary to prevent its spread.

Someone with diabetes should carefully check their feet every day. They should also be checked by the nurse or doctor at every doctor appointment. Prompt medical treatment of any sores or cuts can prevent severe problems from developing.

People with diabetes should wash their feet in warm water every day. Since diabetic neuropathy impairs the feet’s ability to detect heat, the temperature should be carefully checked before use. People with diabetes should not soak their feet unless otherwise directed to do so by a physician. Lotion can be applied to dry skin on the feet, but not between the toes.


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