Diabetic foot treatment
People with diabetes have elevated blood glucose levels. Over time, this can cause damage to nerves, eyes, kidneys and blood vessels. A very common complication of diabetes is foot problems. These problems can quickly become serious and require appropriate action.
Consequences of a diabetic foot
Because diabetes damages the nerve system, someone with diabetes may not notice small sores, ulcers or blisters. If these remain unnoticed, they can turn into a severe infection. Also, damage to the blood vessels caused by diabetes makes it difficult to heal wounds. In the worst case, infections can lead to a loss of limbs.
Treating and preventing diabetic foot problems
For people with diabetes, it is very important to prevent foot problems. Recognising problems early, lowers the risk of complications. The best way to prevent complications is good control of blood glucose levels. There are things people with diabetes can do at home to look after their feet properly:
- Examining feet every day: it’s important to check the feet daily to notice cuts and sores at an early stage. This can be done while washing the feet with lukewarm water and applying a moisturizer. Applying a lotion or crème is important to keep the skin of the feet supple and to prevent it from cracking. Bacteria can easily build up in skin cracks and cause infections.
- Wearing comfortable shoes: footwear is very important for people with diabetes. Shoes protect the feet and should fit properly. Walking barefoot is not advised. Hot or cold surfaces may damage the skin of the feet.
- Pedicure: calluses and rough skin should always be smoothed. Also, toenails should be kept nice and short but with leaving plenty of room out from the nail bed. Visiting a pedicurist can be of great help.
In short, it’s important for people with diabetes to examine their own feet and to know how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of diabetic foot problems. It’s also good to learn what is reasonable to manage at home and when it’s time to call a doctor.