Diabetic Foot Care

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Diabetic patients are at a high risk for developing chronic wounds, especially in the feet. If left untreated, these wounds can cause serious problems that can lead to infections and eventually gangrene, which may require amputation.

Foot Problems in Diabetics

In diabetic patients, foot ulcers or wounds that do not heal occur due to two major complications

  • Neuropathy: Nerve damage causes numbness in your feet, reducing the ability to feel pain and discomfort. When you do not feel pain, even a small cut or blister can develop into an ulcer, sore, or infection without your knowledge.
  • Peripheral vascular disease: Good blood supply is very important for healing of tissues. Poor blood circulation and thereby insufficient oxygen supply to your feet is caused by diabetes-associated damage to the blood vessels. This makes healing difficult.

Other factors that can contribute to the risk of developing diabetic foot problems are: impairment of the immune system, fungal and bacterial infections, poorly fitting shoes and smoking.

Diabetic Foot Care

Since chronic foot wounds are common in diabetics, taking a few preventive steps can keep your feet healthy.

  • Avoid walking barefoot, especially on hot surfaces.
  • Use a moisturizer for dry feet. Apply only to the heels and not between the toes.
  • Don’t cut corns or calluses with scissors or razors.
  • Trim your toenails straight across.
  • Wash your feet regularly with warm water and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  • Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes.
  • Wear socks or stockings all the time.
  • Check your feet regularly for cuts, sores, blisters or infections.
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet