Have Diabetes? Don’t forget about your feet!
Have Diabetes? Don’t forget about your feet!
Have you recently been diagnosed with diabetes? It can come as a bit of a shock. What do you need to do next? It is possible you will have made or will be thinking about making a few dietary and lifestyle changes to help manage your blood glucose levels. Perhaps your GP or diabetes specialist has put you on some diabetes medication.
What else can you do to help manage this condition and stay on top of your health?
One simple step is to learn about how diabetes can affect your lower legs and feet and how a few simple steps can help prevent or detect any early complications. Understanding and looking after your feet is a crucial part of smart diabetic management.
Why your feet?
Your feet may feel like one more thing, on a very long list, that needs a regular checkup. Unfortunately, when our feet are ‘out of sight’, they often remain ‘out of mind’ also – they can be easily forgotten.
Your feet may feel fine for a time, but not keeping a close eye can have dire effects down the track. When it comes to lower limb diabetic complications, prevention is definitely better than cure. Therefore, a proactive approach to diabetic foot care can have an excellent impact on preventing complications in the future.
How does diabetes affect my feet?
There are 3 primary risk factors that have to be considered when assessing lower limb risk and the likely hood of developing a lower limb complication. These are;
The Peripheral Vascular System or more simply, the blood supply to your feet.
Along with many other factors including weight, exercise levels, family history or smoking history, diabetes can have a significant effect on how efficiently your heart can get good oxygen filled blood down into your feet.
Diabetes can cause calcification of your larger blood vessels or arteries, as well as affecting the way you use or distribute your blood throughout the small vessels. Remember, your feet are the most distant part of your body from your heart and have the biggest resistance from gravity. When trying to get that blood back up to your heart again, it can be a challenge.
The Nerves and Sensation in your feet.
Diabetes can affect how the nerves cells communicate or pass on messages to your brain. It makes sense that the feet and toes are some of the first areas affected by diabetic neuropathy. Your feet and toes have the longest nerve pathway all the way up to your brain. Some people develop tingling, numbness or burning when neuropathic changes occur. Other people have no weird sensation or warning at all.
Knowing the health of the nerves in your feet is very important for diabetics, as pain is one of our is our body’s warning systems that we are in danger. Without good feeling in our feet, the risk of injury or foot complications is significantly increased. Not being able to feel minor cuts, rubbing, blisters or wounds put your feet at higher risk of developing ulcerations or infection.
The shape of your feet and how the joints move.
There is a risk in the shape of your feet and toes, and the way your joints move.
Prominent pressure regions, retracted or claw toes as well as stiff immobile joints, can increase the risk or wounds or ulceration.
What can I do for my feet now?
Hearing all the things that can go wrong in the future can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is best to focus on what you can do now to prevent or limit these.
Hence, The Podiatrists at East Gosford Podiatry recommend taking these steps in your foot care routine.
Peep at your feet every day
Take a few moments every day to look at your feet for any changes or abnormalities. Look for rub marks, cuts, sores, or anything else out of the
Schedule your annual diabetic foot check
By having a professional assess your foot health, we can identify and inform you of any early detectable changes with your foot health.
Keep Your Feet in Supportive Footwear
Good appropriate fitting footwear will help keep you comfortable and safe. A podiatrist will be able to guide you in the right direction about footwear
features and characteristics that will assist with your specific foot needs. Please be aware that expensive shoes are not always the best shoes.
Lastly, Diabetes is a serious condition, the Podiatrists at East Gosford Podiatry are serious about looking after your feet.
At all stages of your illness – whether it’s prevention or helping you find relief from your symptoms, We are here to help.