How Does Diabetes Affect Foot Health

More than 34 million adults in America are living with diabetes. Taking special care of your feet is a major part of living well with diabetes. That’s because diabetes affects foot health and without proper care, you’re at risk for foot ulcers, serious foot infections, and even amputation. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of lower limb amputation.

Anyone with diabetes should have a foot care specialist as part of their care team. Foot and ankle specialist Francine Rinehart, DPM is devoted to helping you keep your feet healthy. For people with diabetes, the goal is to keep your blood sugar well-controlled, prevent or slow down nerve damage, and treat diabetes-related complications that affect your feet and other areas. 

Knowing how to take care of your feet is key to staying healthy with diabetes. 

Diabetes and your feet

Diabetes affects your feet in a few ways. Persistently elevated blood sugar damages peripheral nerves responsible for communicating sensory information to and from different parts of the body.

In people with diabetes the legs and feet are most often affected. When nerves become damaged or dysfunctional it’s called peripheral neuropathy. You may experience a loss of sensation that would otherwise alert you to a cut, bruise, or other type of trauma to your feet. 

Additionally, diabetes damages blood vessels in parts of the body. This can reduce blood flow to the legs. The combination of reduced sensation and inadequate blood flow means a small cut from stepping on a pebble can turn into a large, slow-healing open sore (ulcer).

Diabetic ulcers are extremely vulnerable to infection. Because of a lack of nutrients from reduced blood flow, any infection is potentially dangerous. Without immediate treatment, a mild infection can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation. This is why it’s crucial to have a podiatrist like Dr. Rinehart managing your foot care. 

Familiarize yourself with the signs

One of the most important things you can do for your foot health when you have diabetes is to recognize the early warning signs of trouble. This enables you to take action quickly before irreversible damage occurs. 

It’s important to check your legs and feet daily for signs of bruising, cuts, or sores. If treated promptly you can lower the risk of complications and even prevent ulcers from forming. It’s crucial for individuals with diabetes to be vigilant in keeping your feet healthy. 

Watch out for the following warning signs:

You know your body best, so if you’re experiencing anything different in your feet, it’s always best have us check it out.

Prevention complications of diabetes

As with most health issues, prevention is the best way to tackle complications that can arise from diabetes. We recommend that you make inspecting your feet a part of your daily routine to check for any problems — even the slightest cut can cause major issues.

In addition to inspecting your feet, you should also:

You should also attend regular visits with Dr. Rinehart so that she can monitor your feet. Podiatrists are trained to detect even the most subtle signs that something is amiss. 

Together, we can manage your foot care and help you live well with diabetes. To get started and for all of your diabetic foot care needs, contact our Dallas office to schedule a visit or book your request online today.

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