What Do Diabetic Feet Look Like?
The impact of blood sugars on nerve damage and its aftereffects are pretty severe. Approximately 50% of people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage. The most commonly affected parts are the feet and legs. Early diagnosis and proper diabetic foot care are crucial in maintaining good health.
How can diabetes affect your feet?
Too much glucose in your system causes poor blood flow and damage to your nerves. You risk taking longer to heal when you have a sore or a cut with poor blood flow. In the worst cases, the patient's body tissues will die due to an inadequate blood supply.
If diabetes has damaged your nerves, you won’t be able to feel or sense any pain, cold, or heat in your legs and feet. Considerable sensory damage may cause cuts or infections to go unnoticed.
Signs and symptoms of diabetic feet
You may want to visit a doctor if you notice the following signs:
- Sores that are healing at a slower pace
- Changes in skin color
- Swelling in the foot
- Change in your feet’s shape
- Infected corns
- Ingrown toenails
- Dry or cracked foot skin
- Numb feet or having a tingling sensation
- Skin temperature changes
Common problems with diabetic feet
Diabetic feet can have serious complications. In rare cases, people with diabetes who have foot problems go on to amputate their legs. Common problems like athlete’s foot can have severe effects for people with diabetes. It would help if you were cautious of the causative factors and outcomes of diabetic feet.
Some of the effects of diabetic feet include:
Gangrene is a condition where the blood tissues die due to a lack of blood. Peripheral vascular disease, a complication of diabetes, affects blood flow due to high glucose levels. It also causes fatty deposits, which affect blood flow to and from the farthest areas of the body like the head and brain. This disrupts the blood flow to these areas, thus suffocating the tissues causing the condition.
Infected wounds that don’t heal
Poor blood flow will slow down your healing process. Sores and cuts will most likely pick up infections due to the lengthy healing periods. These infections can end up causing foot ulcers or increasing the body's vulnerability to infections.
When an infection gets into the tissues, it forms pus pockets.
Weakened muscles due to nerve damage can cause the bones to change shape, claw feet, or may result in broken metatarsals.
Weakened bones and numbness in the foot can cause high arches. Because you can't feel the pain, you will continue walking on it, worsening the situation.
Due to cracked and broken skin, germs can penetrate through the cracks causing infection to the skins or the bones.
Diabetic foot care
Once you notice any signs of diabetic feet, you need to take necessary precautions and care procedures. Here are some of the tips for caring for diabetic feet:
- Examine your feet regularly
- Honor your doctor’s appointments to check on your feet
- Maintain proper hygiene by cleaning your feet regularly
- Clean and dress the wounds daily
- Promote blood flow by raising your feet and exercises
- Mind the type of shoes you wear to promote blood flow
- Air out your feet
- Moisturize any dry skin by applying lotions
- Care for any corns or calluses that form
- Wear protective gear to maintain the foot’s shape and strengthen its structure
- Regulate your blood sugar
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Avoid smoking
Diabetic feet can sometimes lead to amputation. But with proper diabetic foot care, you can avoid extremities and keep yourself in good shape. Contact a service that provides diabetic foot care to get more information on diabetic feet and their related procedures. Always ensure you visit the doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms.