There are a few words that describe diabetes well, namely systemic, chronic, and extensive. And the problem is now being called one of the greatest health crises of the 21st century, as 10% of the population in France have already succumbed to the disease, and this number is increasing by 5% each year. Although diabetes can have a widespread impact on your health, your feet are of particular concern, as diabetic foot neuropathy is the most common complication, affecting 50% of people with the condition .
At Confort Orthopédique , our team of certified podiatrists understands the clear and current danger of foot problems in our diabetic patients. That's why we offer specialized diabetic foot care, allowing our patients to stay one step ahead of their foot health.
Here is a brief overview of how diabetes can affect your feet and what we can do to help.
Diabetes and your feet
At its most basic, diabetes is a problem in which your body has trouble regulating the levels of glucose in your bloodstream. This develops in one of two ways: You don't produce enough (or any) insulin and/or you become insulin resistant (insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating your blood sugar).
The end result of this regulatory problem is that glucose levels can build up dangerously in your blood, which damages your blood vessels. Because of this, your body has a harder time getting oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to where it needs to go. The effects of this are particularly felt in your feet, where blood has to fight both distance and gravity.
The most common diabetic foot problems
By far, the most common threat of diabetic foot is neuropathy (nerve damage). Also called peripheral or diabetic neuropathy, this condition develops due to high levels of blood sugar and fats (triglycerides) in your blood, which can permanently damage your nerves.
As mentioned, the prevalence of diabetic neuropathy is 50% in people with diabetes, making the complication very concerning.
There are other foot problems that tend to affect people with diabetes more frequently due to vascular and nerve damage, such as:
- Corns and calluses
- fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
Although these conditions are not a direct result of diabetes, they require additional care due to the nerve and vascular health of your feet.
Treat diabetic foot problems
The most important thing you can do to protect your foot health is to be aware of the potential dangers and have us address any issues at the first sign of trouble. There are plenty of preventative measures you can take (we'll get to these in a minute), but you should also seek advice whenever you experience any of the following issues:
- Pain, numbness or tingling in the feet
- Ulcers that do not heal
- Any break in your skin, even due to fungal infection or warts
- Changes in skin temperature
In fact, when you have diabetes, you'd do well to keep up with your regular appointments with us so we can monitor your foot health for any potential issues. The fact is, the earlier we intervene, the better we can stop serious and life-altering consequences like gangrene and amputation.
Take steps to prevent diabetic foot problems
One of the best ways to offset your risk of diabetic foot problems is to take preventive measures, including:
- Inspect your feet daily for any changes
- Gently wash and dry your feet daily
- Wear shoes that do not overload your feet
- Keep your feet dry and protected at all times
- Use custom orthotics
Of course, at the top of that list should be properly regulating your blood sugar.