Posted on: 28 September 2018Share
If you've recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions. You may have heard that this is a particularly difficult illness to deal with and you're going to have to be very careful to balance what you eat due to your blood glucose levels. While you may certainly be looking at some significant changes in your lifestyle and support from experts as you get to know your options, you may not yet realise that you have to take particular care of your feet from now on, as well. What are the additional risks here and what should you do about this situation?
Unfortunately, diabetes can damage your nerves and lead to poor circulation and this can often be felt at your extremities. As the disease progresses you may pick up additional nerve damage in the lower legs and feet and this will make it difficult for you to feel normal sensation in this area. Consequently, you may not become aware of any issues should they arise and if you were to pick up a cut or a sore on your foot, you may not even know that it was there.
This can lead to a series of knock-on effects which can make the situation progressively more challenging. Firstly, your blood flow in this area is below optimal and this will make it difficult for that injury, as small as it is, to heal. Furthermore, you are at greater risk for infection, especially if you were not aware of its presence. As the risk increases, ulcers can form and lead to serious repercussions, with amputation a real possibility in the worst-case scenario.
It's very important for you to become aware of your condition at all times and conduct regular checks on your feet, ideally every day. You should make sure that they are washed each morning with a mild soap and dried completely before putting any socks, stockings or shoes on. Keep them well moisturised, especially in winter, to avoid the onset of dry skin and put some special lotion in between your toes to avoid chafing.
You may need to get professional help from a podiatrist to trim your toenails, especially as this can be a challenging task at the best of times. You will want to avoid cutting them back too far as this can often lead to bleeding and subsequent infection.
The Right Shoes
Spend a lot of time choosing footwear so that you get the right shoes for your requirements and always allow plenty of room for your toes so that they are not restricted in any way. Never be tempted to walk barefoot, even if that is on a sandy beach or next to the pool and make sure that you inspect your feet as often as you can.
You'll definitely want to modify your diet, cut down or eliminate alcohol and stop smoking, as these are crucial in your battle against diabetes. These new practices will also help you to encourage the flow of blood to the feet.
If you notice anything unusual about your feet, need help to trim your toenails or get rid of some corns or calluses, make sure that you talk with a diabetic podiatrist who is experienced in helping with this condition.