In an ideal world, everyone is born with 5 senses. The senses of smell, sight, sound, touch and taste. But individuals with high blood glucose and blood sugar levels often experience a loss of one of these unique senses. Damage to nerves and blood vessels greatly affects their sense of touch – in particular, the loss of feeling in their feet.
Foot problems and conditions affect the entire population, but they pose the biggest threat to diabetic individuals. Minor injuries can take a turn for the worst and escalate quickly when they go undetected. To prevent complications, examine your feet on a daily basis. Avoid potential life threatening problems by consulting the Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona today!
How Does Diabetes Affect My Feet?
Two common foot problems among diabetics include neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. Neuropathy is essentially the loss of feeling due to damaged nerves. It affects the ability to feel pain, heat, or cold. More often than not, small cuts, scrapes, and sores will go unnoticed due to neuropathy. Because of this, approximately 10% of people with diabetes will develop aggressive foot ulcers. Further, it causes muscles to become damaged and misaligned.
Peripheral vascular disease affects the flow of blood throughout the body. When cuts and sores appear the body sends healing blood cells to the affected area. When an individual has peripheral vascular disease, this response time is slowed. Due to this process, diabetics are particularly at risk for developing gangrene and ulcers.
How Can I Care For my Feet?
It's extremely important to show your feet some love.
Feet should be closely inspected every day. Develop a keen eye for unusual scratches, cuts, bruising, and areas of warmth and red discoloration. Don't forget to search between the toes!
Wash your feet daily. Use warm water and mild soap. After washing, pat them dry with a soft towel and apply lotion to prevent harmful cracking.
Choose appropriate socks and shoes. Socks should be made of cotton for they absorb the most perspiration. Avoid elastic bands and tight shoes that cut off circulation.
Trim the toenails straight across and avoid cutting the corners. Avoid ingrown toenails at all cost. Use a nail file for edges close to the skin.
Wiggle your toes, rotate your ankles, and keep those legs uncrossed. To increase blood flow to the feet, wiggle the toes for 5 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. Any kind of exercise can also help increase blood flow and reduce symptoms.
Avoid smoking and keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels within normal ranges.
If you are unable to examine your own feet, have a family member or podiatrist help you. Drs. David Laurino, Antonius Su, and Darick Freestone provide excellent care for diabetic feet. If you have diabetes, you should be seeing a podiatrist as lease once a year for a comprehensive foot exam.
Contact the Advanced Foot & Ankle specialists of Arizona today! Appointments can be made with one of our offices by calling or faxing our Chandler location: (480) 963-9000, (480) 963-0375 (fax) or our Gilbert location: (480) 981-1800, (480) 981-0229 (fax). You can also schedule online. Don't let diabetes get the best of your feet. If you have any loss of sensation you may not recognize complications. We are more than happy to assist.