Diabetes is a disease caused by an inability to produce the hormone insulin or to use it effectively. It causes your blood sugar levels to spike, potentially creating a whole host of other health problems, including for your feet.
At Monroe Foot & Ankle Care, serving Jamesburg and the entire Monroe Township, New Jersey area, podiatric physician and board-certified foot surgeon Dr. Elliott Perel and his team offer advanced diabetic foot care so you can help keep your feet problem-free.
What’s the link between diabetes and the feet?
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a number of other health conditions, including increased risk for heart attack and stroke, nerve dysfunction in the feet (peripheral neuropathy), and a compromised immune system.
Diabetes also impacts your circulatory system. High glucose levels irritate the lining of your arteries, the blood vessels that supply your body with oxygen and nutrients. The roughened lining leads to a fatty plaque buildup on the artery walls; when it hardens, it narrows the diameter of the conduit.
As a result, your heart has to work harder to pump blood, increasing blood pressure and further damaging the arteries. The end result is poor circulation in your legs and feet, which starves the tissues.
Poor circulation also makes your feet more susceptible to injury because it decreases sensation. Unless you routinely check your feet, you may not realize you’ve developed a cut or have an ingrown toenail, blisters, corns, or athlete’s foot before the foot develops an ulcer, an open, easily infected wound that’s slow to heal.
Foot ulcers are the most common diabetes-related reason for hospitalization. They’re also often a precursor to amputation. Some 80% of diabetic lower-limb amputations start with a foot ulcer. By taking proper care of your feet, though, you can avoid this serious complication.
Preventing diabetic foot problems
Preventing a problem from developing is better than treating a problem after the fact. Here are some suggestions for what you can do to ensure proper foot health:
Inspect and wash your feet every day
You need to be proactive about checking your feet since your nerves may not be sending pain signals to your brain. At least once a day, check for blisters, cuts, swelling, or nail problems so you can take care of them before they become dangerous. Also, wash your feet using lukewarm water with a soft cloth or sponge and blot dry. Be sure to dry between your toes to prevent a fungal infection.
Cut your toenails carefully
Trimming your nails is important since long nails can cut into the skin on your toes. Make the cut straight across, not angled, and don’t trim lower than the end of your toe to prevent ingrown nails.
Pay attention to your socks
Clean, dry socks are foot-friendly, especially for diabetics. If you perspire a lot, make sure to change the socks to prevent a fungal infection. Diabetic socks are foot-friendly, too: They’re made with extra cushioning from moisture-repelling materials. They also have no elastic at the top, and they reach higher than the ankle, so your whole foot’s protected.
Get your feet professionally checked
There’s nothing like a professional assessment to ensure your feet remain healthy. Dr. Perel helps you understand the impact your condition has on your feet and manage it to the best of both your abilities.
If you’re a diabetic and you haven’t had your feet checked recently, it’s time to come into Monroe Foot & Ankle Care for an evaluation with Dr. Perel. Give the office a call at 732-521-6166, or book online with us today.