Diabetes can lead to a range of health complications, and one area that requires particular attention is foot care. Due to elevated blood sugar levels, individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic foot.

Aside from that, they’re also susceptible to suffering minor foot issues like dryness and severe complications like ulcers and infections.

This comprehensive guide will provide essential information on foot care, including prevention strategies, early signs of complications, treatment options, and daily foot care tips to maintain healthy feet.

What You Need to Know

More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, while more than 80 million people are pre-diabetic. Even though we’re getting better at treating and managing the condition, complications from diabetes continue to exist.

Your feet are not immune to complications from diabetes. People are likely to develop diabetes, foot pain, and other issues because of their diabetes. That said, there are some things you can do to help keep your feet healthy while you’re managing your diabetes.

To keep people healthy, We put together this handy infographic to help showcase how to care for your feet if you have diabetes. Check out the infographic below, and please take care of your feet!

diabetic foot

Understanding Diabetic Feet Complications

Diabetes can affect the feet in several ways, primarily through nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) and reduced blood flow (peripheral arterial disease). These conditions can lead to the following complications:

  • Diabetic Neuropathy

This condition damages the nerves in the feet, causing numbness, tingling, or pain. Diabetic foot problems like this can also lead to a loss of sensation, making it difficult to detect injuries or wounds.

  • Peripheral Arterial Disease

This condition affects the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the feet. It can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of infections.

These open sores can develop due to nerve damage, poor circulation, or minor injuries. If untreated, ulcers can become infected and lead to severe complications.

  • Infections

Diabetes can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight infections. Foot infections can range from mild to severe and may require antibiotics or hospitalization.

Prevention is Key

The good news is that you can prevent many diabetic foot symptoms and complications with proper care and attention. Here are some key preventive measures:

  • Regular Foot Examinations

Examine your feet daily for any cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or other abnormalities. If you notice any problems, consult your doctor immediately.

  • Maintain Blood Sugar Control

Keeping your blood sugar levels within the target range is crucial for preventing complications. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for diet, exercise, and medication.

  • Wash and Dry Your Feet Daily

Use lukewarm water and mild soap to wash your feet. Dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes, to prevent fungal infections.

  • Moisturize Your Feet

Apply a moisturizer to your feet to prevent dryness, cracking, and diabetic foot sores. Avoid putting moisturizer between your toes.

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes

Choose shoes that fit well and provide adequate support. Avoid high heels and shoes with pointed toes.

  • Trim Your Toenails Carefully

Cut your toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails. If you have difficulty seeing or reaching your feet, ask your doctor or a podiatrist for assistance.

  • Never Walk Barefoot

Always wear shoes or slippers indoors to protect your feet from injuries.

  • Get Regular Foot Checkups

Visit your doctor or podiatrist for regular foot checkups, even if you don’t have any symptoms. They can detect early signs of complications and provide appropriate treatment.

Early Signs of Diabetic Foot Complications

It’s essential to be aware of the early signs of these complications so that you can seek treatment promptly. These signs may include:

  • Changes in skin color or temperature
  • Swelling in the feet or ankles
  • Pain or numbness in the feet
  • Sores or ulcers that don’t heal
  • Ingrown toenails or fungal infections
  • Unusual foot odor

If you experience these symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or podiatrist.

Treatment Options

The treatment for diabetic foot symptoms will vary depending on the specific problem.  Treatment options may include:

  • Wound care and dressings
  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Offloading pressure from ulcers
  • Specialized footwear or orthotics
  • Surgery in severe cases

Daily Foot Care Tips

In addition to the preventive measures mentioned earlier, here are some additional tips for daily foot care:

  • Inspect the inside of your shoes before putting them on.
  • Wear clean, dry socks every day.
  • Avoid smoking, as it can worsen circulation problems.
  • Be cautious when cutting your toenails or using sharp objects on your feet.
  • Don’t use hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.

Following these recommendations and paying close attention to your feet can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetic foot sores and maintain healthy feet for years.

diabetic foot

Walk Better Again With Foot and Ankle Centers

Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you have to live with foot pain or worry. Foot & Ankle Centers is here to help you take control of your foot health. We understand the unique challenges diabetes presents and offer comprehensive care tailored to your needs.

Our podiatrists are experts in diagnosing and treating many foot conditions, from neuropathy and ulcers to infections and circulation issues.

We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that may include advanced wound care, specialized footwear, or preventative measures to keep your feet healthy and pain-free.

Take action before a minor issue becomes a significant complication. So, beat diabetic foot today by taking proactive steps and scheduling a consultation with us. Your feet will thank you!