Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that leads to high blood glucose levels. Your body uses glucose for energy. Still, when it's too high, it accumulates and leads to various issues within the body.
One of the main problems related to high blood glucose levels and diabetes is nerve damage and circulation problems in the legs and feet. Without good circulation and nerve damage, you may not know about an injury or cut on your foot, which can lead to severe health problems.
Taking extra care of your feet when living with diabetes is critical to your overall health. Dr. David Deiboldt and the Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center team provide the tools you need to avoid foot issues from diabetes.
Dr. Deiboldt is an experienced podiatrist specializing in various foot and ankle injuries and conditions, including diabetic foot ulcers and care.
What are diabetic foot ulcers?
Diabetes is a condition where your body either doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't properly use the insulin it does make to control the glucose in your blood. Glucose is the primary energy source for your body, which insulin helps push into the cells for use.
High blood sugar often happens with diabetes because of pancreas dysfunction or the body's inability to use insulin correctly. The result is various issues with your health, including diabetic foot ulcers.
When you're living with diabetes, the high amounts of glucose in your blood lead to decreased circulation in the legs and feet, along with nerve damage.
Nerve damage in the legs and feet results in diabetic neuropathy, causing numbness and tingling. If you can't feel your feet, you could have an injury and not know it.
Poor circulation and neuropathy create a hazard for diabetic foot ulcers. These ulcers form after you cut or injure your foot and don't know it.
The cut can become infected, and without the proper oxygenated blood supply, it worsens, leading to a slow-healing wound called an ulcer.
Diabetic foot ulcers are dangerous and can lead to chronic infection, non-healing open sores, and in severe cases, amputation.
Checking your feet regularly can help reduce the risk of diabetic foot ulcers and complications related to diabetes.
Five tips to care of your feet
Living with diabetes means taking extra care of your legs and feet. For example, you should never walk barefoot around the house or outside because of decreased sensation in your feet, which could result in a cut or injury you can't feel.
Dr. Deiboldt helps you understand how to properly take care of your feet with diabetes, including the following five tips to live by:
1. Carefully examine your feet daily
It's crucial to examine both feet daily to look for minor cuts or injuries you may not feel due to neuropathy. Check the bottom of your feet and between your toes for signs of infection, redness, or visible cuts on the skin.
2. Cut your nails carefully
Cut your toenails straight and file off the edges. Be careful not to cut your nails too short or at an angle, which could lead to an ingrown toenail and infection.
3. Keep your feet clean and dry
Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water, carefully washing the entire foot and between each toe. Wash gently and dry your feet entirely, especially between the toes.
4. Do not treat calluses yourself
Corns and calluses are common in people with diabetes, and you may be tempted to treat them on your own — but don't. It's critical to see Dr. Deiboldt for these problems, as he can treat them correctly without the risk of infection and further damage to your foot.
5. Moisturize your feet
Moisturizing your feet regularly helps to keep the skin soft and prevents cracking. However, you mustn't moisturize between your toes, which can encourage a fungal infection and other issues.
Taking care of your feet while carefully managing your blood sugar is the best way to avoid diabetic foot ulcers and other complications related to diabetes.
To learn more about diabetic foot care, don't hesitate to call Beltsville Foot Center at 301-804-1174 to make an appointment for treatment or book a consultation with Dr. Deiboldt online.