Diabetes and Foot Complications

Though anyone can get foot problems, but diabetes increases these problems manifold and cause infection and serious health complications, amputation, etc. Given below are some foot problems associated with diabetes:

Athlete’s Foot: Actually, Athlete’s Foot is a fungus. It enters through the cracks in skin and causes itching, redness, infection and cracking. Medicines in the form of pills or creams are used to kill the fungus.

Fungal Infection of Nails: Fungus develops in nail making it yellowish-brown or opaque. The infected nail gets separated from the rest of the nail. If the situation aggravates, nail starts crumbling. Fungal nail infections are very difficult to treat. Though medications are available, but they treat the infection only minimally. Periodic removal of the damaged nail tissues is also advised to help progression of the infection.

Calluses: Callus is the building up of hard skin, especially on the underside of the foot. Improperly fitting shoes, skin abnormality or uneven distribution of weight, especially on the bottom of the forefoot or heel cause Callus. Proper care is needed to get away from it. If you have Callus, use pumice stone to remove the built-up tissues gently. Apart, also use cushioned pads and insoles in your shoes. Medications are also given to soften calluses. Mind, never cut or remove the callus with a sharp object.

Blisters: When shoe keeps on rubbing the same spot on foot again and again on foot, blisters are formed. The shoes that do not fit properly or that are worn without socks, can cause blisters. If these blisters are not treated on time, they become infected. Skin covering the blister helps its infection. Antibacterial cream and soft bandages are used to protect the skin and prevent the progression of infection.

Corns: Corn is also a build-up of hard skin like Callus, but it develops near a bony area of a toe or between the toes. It is caused primarily because of the pressure from shoes that cause friction between the toes or rub against these. Care to cure corn is more or less same as that of callus.
Foot ulcers. Foot ulcer is a break or deep sore in the skin of the feet. It may become infected. It is caused through the cuts that heal slowly, from minor scrapes or from rubbing of shoes that do not fit properly. Early detection and medical intervention is very much essential to treat foot ulcers.

Tips to Prevent Serious Foot Problems

Early detection of foot problems and their timely treatment can prevent serious health complications. Given below are the tips to prevent serious foot problems:

Ø Take your Diabetes Seriously: Mind, diabetes is the root cause of all your foot-related problems. Hence, you must do your utmost to maintain your blood sugar level in the normal range. Follow your diabetes educator’s advice religiously regarding nutrition, exercise and medication.

Ø Wash your Feet Thoroughly Everyday: Wash your feet with warm water using a mild soap every day. But, do not check the temperature of water with hands, as nerve damage can affect the sensation in your hands. Use elbow to feel the temperature. Maintain proper hygiene of the foot, especially between the toes.

Ø Check your Feet Regularly: Due to nerve damage in the feet, you may not feel the pain even if there is any cut, infection, etc. Therefore, check your feet regularly for any redness, calluses, sores, blisters, etc. If you find any deformity, seek medical intervention immediately.

Ø Keep your Feet Moist: If skin of your feet is dry, apply lotion after washing them to keep them moist. Mind, do not apply lotion between your toes. However, take the advice of your doctor to choose the best lotion for your feet.
Ø Trim your Toenails Weekly: Trim your toenails with a good nail clipper once in a week. But, do not cut on the sides of the nails. After clipping, make your toenails smooth with a nail file.

Ø Wear Shoes that Fit Properly: Wear the shoes made up of canvas or leather. Extra wide shoes allow more room to the foot and cause foot diseases.

Ø Do not Restrict the Blood Flow to your Feet: If you cross your legs for the long period of time, blood flow to your feet will get restricted. Therefore, to avoid this condition, put your feet up while sitting, move your ankles and wiggle your toes several times a day.

                                                                                 -----Ashish Jha