Most people know that diabetes can cause a range of challenges to one’s health, due to the consistently high blood sugar levels. But not many people realize that it can have a fairly drastic effect on your feet, too. This week we’d like to raise awareness about diabetes and how it can affect foot health. Because often, diabetes itself does not cause direct harm to the feet. Instead, the issues grow second-handedly as a result of the diabetes.
‘Diabetic neuropathy’ means that you don’t feel heat, cold or pain. In all honesty, how often do you check the bottom of your feet for a cut or sore? The reality is that you don’t usually need to, because if you step on a stone or piece of glass, you feel it immediately. With neuropathy this cut could easily be missed and your simple wound could become infected - all without you realizing.
Diabetes can also worsen infection or slow down healing, due to the lack of blood flow caused by blood sugar levels that are too high. That’s when the infection can progress, and in the worst cases, lead to amputation.
In other words, diabetes can make any banal foot problem much worse. Whether it be an ingrown toenail, Athlete’s Foot, calluses or blisters, something that is nothing more than an annoyance to your average person suddenly becomes threatening if you have diabetes.
Weakened Immune System
As we all know, your immune system is responsible for fighting off outside bacteria. When you have diabetes, your immune system’s ability to do this is compromised. This suddenly makes a simple cut a much bigger threat. Combine this with the lack of sensitivity on your feet as described above, and you could soon be looking at some complications.
What can I do?
When diagnosed, it’s important to make a diabetes self-care plan. For a foot-care plan, get in touch with us and we can make one together. This will involve directions on best practice to look after your feet, guidance on how to check for infections and other issues to be concerned about, and other general tips such as footwear, cleanliness and hygiene.
Always stay on top of your foot care by checking regularly for cuts and sores, and contact us immediately for a consultation if you have any doubts.