Caring for Diabetic Feet
Fluctuating sugars from diabetes wreak havoc on your internal organs, damage your blood vessels and nerves, and run a high risk of severe, even permanent, complications. All of this also applies to your feet; in fact many times the harm shows up there first. With so much of your health and daily functioning on the line, ignoring your feet when you have diabetes isn’t worth the risk. Otherwise, simple problems could become big, meaning long recoveries, serious surgeries, or even amputation. Taking care of your feet and preventing damage is simple, but the rewards of doing so—or the consequences of not—are life-long.
Why it Matters -— What You Are Risking
Pain is an important signal flag of trouble in your body. Because of damage to your nerves, you may not notice when your feet are sustaining harm. Failure to treat a problem right away means that it gets worse. Diabetes also compromises your immune system by attacking your blood vessels, making it much harder to recover from even small cuts and wounds and allowing infections into the body. If complications from diabetes do occur in your feet, many conservative treatments are available, but if you do not get the problems taken care of, the more serious remedies may be your only options.
What You Can Do -— Prevention is Key
Preventing diabetic complications in your feet doesn’t have to be difficult. Working some small care strategies into daily living can make the difference between walking comfortably now and needing surgery later.
Maintaining control of your blood sugar levels is the most important thing you can do to avoid sugar damage anywhere in your body, including in your feet. Washing and inspecting them daily helps keep you clear of infections and on the lookout for injuries or changes in your feet before they become serious. Protecting your foundation with good socks and comfortable, supportive shoes helps avoid damage. You should also keep your toenails trimmed and your skin soft and moisturized. If you notice any changes in your feet, especially if they are sudden, contact your doctor right away—simple problems become serious when they’re allowed to get worse.
It is also very important to have your feet checked annually by a podiatrist. Specialist Dr. Tejas Pandya examines your feet for general health and any damage you may have incurred that you did not notice. He offers treatment for a wide variety of diabetic foot ailments, and can help you manage your daily foot care to avoid complications.
What to Look For -— Signs and Symptoms of Complications
Watch for any sort of changes. Calluses, blisters, cuts, unusual bruises, dry skin, lumps, bumps, and sores are small problems on the surface of your feet, but need to be cared for right away to prevent them from getting worse. Don’t ignore pain; it is a signal that something is wrong and needs to be examined. Temperature differences in your feet and sudden changes in the color of your skin also could be symptoms of more serious problems and need to be reported right away.
Diabetes is a challenging condition that affects every area of your life and health. Still, preventing complications from occurring in the first place, while taking a little time now, is much better than being forced to have surgery or losing a foot later. Dr. Pandya understands just how important it is to care for diabetic feet, and knows that the stakes can be high. With regular, preventative care, your daily life doesn’t have to suffer. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, or have any other general foot concerns, don’t ignore your feet. Contact Dr. Pandya of Capital District Podiatry for more information or an appointment by calling (518) 273-0053 or visiting the contact page on the website.