Why do Diabetics Have to Take Extra Care of Their Feet?

Almost 30 million women, men, and kids in the United States have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. When you have diabetes, you have to monitor your blood glucose levels to be sure they don’t get too high.

However, in addition to monitoring your blood glucose, you have to think more about your feet than the average person does. That’s because approximately 130,000 of the 200,000 foot amputations that are performed in the United States every year are the result of diabetes complications. 

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled or even reversed in some cases with lifestyle changes, including a low-glycemic, whole-foods diet, plenty of exercise, and lower stress levels.

If your diabetes isn’t controlled through lifestyle, prescribed insulin, or both, you have a 1 in 10 chance of developing foot ulcers and a 50% chance of experiencing nerve damage in your feet related to your diabetes.

Francine Rhinehart, DPM, is an expert podiatrist in Dallas, Texas, who specializes in diabetic foot care. If you have diabetes, she and our team help your feet get the extra care and attention they need so that you can keep your toes, feet, ankles, and lower legs for life.

We create customized care plans to treat diabetes-related issues you already have or help you prevent them in the first place. Why do you have to take extra care of your feet when you have diabetes? Find out below.

High blood sugar destroys blood vessels

Diabetes affects how your body converts dietary sugar into the energy your cells need to stay healthy and function optimally. When you’re healthy, your body releases the insulin hormone to regulate your blood sugar levels and help transport blood glucose into your cells.

If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body can’t properly use the insulin it makes; you’ve become “insulin resistant.”

When your blood sugar (i.e., glucose) levels stay too high, a variety of complications may result, including:

Uncontrolled diabetes can also affect the health of your blood vessels, by making them stiff and narrowing them. This affects how well your blood circulates to your body, including the nerves in your feet and eyes.

If you sustain damage to the nerves in your feet, you can’t feel small cuts before they become infected. Untreated, unhealed wounds can lead to severe infections, nonhealing foot ulcers, and the death of tissue (i.e., necrosis).

Diabetic foot care spots problems early

Our goal with diabetic foot care is to prevent foot ulcers and other diabetes-related complications. Dr. Rhinehart and our team also treat symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, including:

During your diabetic foot care visit, we complete a thorough physical evaluation of your feet. Dr. Rhinehart checks for inflammation, cuts, and infection. 

She also identifies and treats any corns and calluses that could increase your risk for painful ulcers. We also offer cutting-edge Smart-LEDA tests to evaluate your risk for peripheral artery disease (PAD), which increases your risk for foot amputation.

We also coordinate your treatment with your family physician to ensure that your diabetes is well-controlled. You may need to make lifestyle and diet changes or take medications to keep your blood glucose levels healthy.

How to prevent diabetes-related foot problems

We encourage you to take charge of your diabetes and foot health by adopting new habits that keep your feet healthy and free of ulcers. We may recommend strategies such as:

Be sure to schedule routine diabetic foot care visits, so that Dr. Rhinehart can identify and treat diabetes-related foot issues early. If you experience any type of foot injury, call us for a foot evaluation to lower your risk of serious complications.

For diabetic foot care, contact our office at 469-754-8960 today or book an appointment online to keep your feet healthy … and keep your feet.

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