If not managed properly, diabetes can cause severe and even life-threatening lower limb issues. For that reason, people with diabetes need to be vigilant with their foot care routine. When proactive, you can prevent almost all foot complications related to diabetes. Read on to learn more about how diabetes impacts the feet and ankles.
Uncontrolled glucose levels in the blood can lead to nerve damage and poor circulation. Peripheral neuropathy and Peripheral Arterial Disease are two common conditions that develop due to mismanaged blood sugar. These conditions are dangerous because they can impair healing time and reduce feeling in the legs, making it difficult for diabetics to detect injuries. In addition, people with diabetes are especially susceptible to having a weakened immune system, and problems such as blisters and ulcers may also arise. This can lead to even more critical complications such as infections and amputation in some extreme cases.
What Precautions Should Be Taken to Protect My Feet?
First and foremost, be sure to visit your podiatrist regularly. They can identify and address issues with your feet before they worsen. Other preventative measures that we recommend include:
- Exercising regularly to improve blood flow
- Wearing shoes or slippers for protection
- Avoiding heating pads and electric blankets
- Avoiding smoking or drinking too much alcohol
- Checking your feet for irregularities every day
If a diabetic has neuropathy, they can't rely on their nerves to send a pain signal to warn them of damage or a break in the skin. Inspecting the feet and in between the toes daily is the best way to know if there are any blemishes, wounds, or rashes present. If needed, a mirror or caregiver can be helpful with inspecting the bottom of the feet.
These preventative measures will reduce your risk of developing a serious injury or diabetes-related issue.
When Should I Visit a Podiatrist?
Don't wait for a problem to arise—schedule an annual diabetic foot exam to catch potential problems early. If you're experiencing lower limb discomfort or notice an irregularity, contact your podiatrist immediately to make an appointment.
Our team of foot and ankle experts can help you stay healthy and on your feet. Call us at (717) 757-3537 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment!