People with diabetes have a lot to monitor and manage—from their blood sugar levels, to their weight, not to mention their foot health. About half of people with diabetes develop nerve damage and poor circulation, which can cause them to lose sensation and overlook problems that may plague their feet.
So whether you have just been recently diagnosed with diabetes or living with it for years, your best strategy for preventing diabetic foot complications is to inspect your feet every day, even if they feel fine. Here are some of the common diabetic foot conditions that you need to constantly be on the lookout for:
Foot ulcers are a typical complication of diabetes, characterized by either a superficial red crater or one that extends through the full thickness of your skin. Foot ulcers form as a result of skin tissue breakdown and are most commonly found under your big toes or the balls of your feet.
Among the first signs of a foot ulcer are redness, odors, unusual swelling, and irritation. Consult your foot doctor right away if you begin to notice skin discoloration or the presence of dead tissue.
If left untreated, foot ulcers can lead to any of the following complications:
- Abscess (a pocket of pus)
- Bone infection
- Diabetic foot sepsis, which is a serious complication of skin infection
- Gangrene (death of soft tissue)
Swelling of your feet or legs can signify underlying inflammation or infection, or poor blood circulation. Signs of poor blood circulation include pain in your legs that increases with walking; hard, shiny skin; and absence of hair growth on your lower legs.
Wiggling your toes, exercising, and elevating your feet when sitting can all help promote good circulation in your feet.
Calluses and Corns
Calluses and corns are thick, hardened layers of skin that form as a result of repeated friction or pressure on a specific area of your feet. If not trimmed, calluses and corns can get very thick, break down, and develop into ulcers.
Remember to never try cutting or shaving off your calluses or corns yourself. Let your foot doctor do it. You may cut too far down your skin or injure the surrounding tissue, both of which can lead to ulcers and infection.
When uncontrolled, diabetes makes it very difficult for you to fight infection, especially in your feet. Avoid wearing ill-fitting shoes, which can cause blisters that may eventually lead to infection.
Seeking Diabetic Foot Treatment in South Texas
If you are seeking treatment for any of the diabetic foot problems mentioned above, our expert foot doctors at The Podiatry Group of South Texas are here to help. Our podiatrists can create a preventive foot care routine as well as provide comprehensive examinations to be able to determine the suitable treatment option for you. For serious diabetic foot conditions, our podiatrists can employ limb salvage, which involves reconstructive surgery so that your limb can remain functional.