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Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care Causes, Symptoms And Tips

One of the most serious concerns for diabetics involves care of the feet. Diabetics must always be protective of their feet. Taking good care of the feet involves several factors. The first is closely monitoring glucose levels, and maintaining good control. A second factor involves physically taking good care of the feet themselves, through a regular routine of cleaning, inspection, protecting, and wearing good-fitting shoes on the feet. Proper foot care is very important for a person with diabetes, because diabetes causes damage to the nerves, and decreases the flow of blood sugar into the feet. Serious diabetic complications appear when a person with diabetes has foot problems.

Protect your feet with shoes or diabetic socks. Natural fiber socks are recommended by health care providers. Select shoes which protect your feet from cold and moisture. Be sure that your shoes are comfortably fitted into your feet. Visit your health care provider if you have foot problems like calluses, athlete's foot, increasing numbness and infection.

Diabetes causes nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy and because of this persons with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems. Foot injuries are hardly noticed because nerve damage leads to numbness or loss of feeling. Injuries can be easily infected and become deep tissue infection. In extreme cases, it may lead to amputation.

Checking your feet daily, examining it for redness, swelling or pain, is the best care you can do for your feet. It is good to wash your feet with mild soap and lukewarm water. Daily lotion or petroleum jelly can also be used to keep the skin smooth. Avoid using moisturizer between your toes. Prevent using hot water for washing your feet as it can cause burns.

The best defense against foot complications is a diabetic management that is effective. Step by step, you can make progress in achieving a diabetic care that works. Good diabetic diet is simple with the right food choices sourced from nutrition guides and diabetic recipes. Regular testing of blood glucose is important in controlling of your diabetes. With a healthy diet and exercise plan included in your diabetes management plan, blood glucose control can be achieved.

A good diabetes management plan also includes caring for your teeth and skin. In caring for your skin, moisturizing soaps and shampoos are recommended. Avoid alcohol, antiseptic or iodine for treating a cut in your skin. Feminine hygiene sprays should be avoided. Diabetes self-management prevents you from complications and improves your quality of life living with the disease. Diabetes educators can guide you about the aspects of diabetes care like administering medications, identifying the symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, and treatment adjustment during time when a diabetic patient is sick.

Psychological issues should also be addressed because there can be a lot of emotional stress involved in managing diabetes. Getting into physical activities you enjoy will not only help maintain blood glucose levels but helps in improving emotional and mental health.

Diabetic Foot Care Causes

Several risk factors increase a person with diabetes chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet.

1. Footwear: Poorly fitting shoes are a common cause of diabetic foot problems.

•If the patient has red spots, sore spots, blisters, corns, calluses, or consistent pain associated with wearing shoes, new properly fitting footwear must be obtained as soon as possible.

•If the patient has common foot abnormalities such as flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes, prescription shoes or shoe inserts may be necessary.

2. Nerve damage: People with long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes are at risk for having damage to the nerves in their feet. The medical term for this is peripheral neuropathy.

•Because of the nerve damage, the patient may be unable to feel their feet normally. Also, they may be unable to sense the position of their feet and toes while walking and balancing. With normal nerves, a person can usually sense if their shoes are rubbing on the feet or if one part of the foot is becoming strained while walking.

•A person with diabetes may not properly sense minor injuries (such as cuts, scrapes, blisters), signs of abnormal wear and tear (that turn into calluses and corns), and foot strain. Normally, people can feel if there is a stone in their shoe, then remove it immediately. A person who has diabetes may not be able to perceive a stone. Its constant rubbing can easily create a sore.

3. Poor circulation: Especially when poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to accelerated hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. When blood flow to injured tissues is poor, healing does not occur properly.

4. Trauma to the foot: Any trauma to the foot can increase the risk for a more serious problem to develop.

5. Infections

•Athlete's foot, a fungal infection of the skin or toenails, can lead to more serious bacterial infections and should be treated promptly.
•Ingrown toenails should be handled right away by a foot specialist. Toenail fungus should also be treated.

6. Smoking: Smoking any form of tobacco causes damage to the small blood vessels in the feet and legs. This damage can disrupt the healing process and is a major risk factor for infections and amputations. The importance of smoking cessation cannot be overemphasized.

Diabetic Foot Care Symptoms

1. Persistent pain can be a symptom of sprain, strain, bruise, overuse, improperly fitting shoes, or underlying infection.

2. Redness can be a sign of infection, especially when surrounding a wound, or of abnormal rubbing of shoes or socks.

3. Swelling of the feet or legs can be a sign of underlying inflammation or infection, improperly fitting shoes, or poor venous circulation. Other signs of poor circulation include the following:
•Pain in the legs or buttocks that increases with walking but improves with rest (claudication)
•Hair no longer growing on the lower legs and feet. 
•Hard shiny skin on the legs

4. Localized warmth can be a sign of infection or inflammation, perhaps from wounds that won't heal or that heal slowly.

5. Any break in the skin is serious and can result from abnormal wear and tear, injury, or infection. Calluses and corns may be a sign of chronic trauma to the foot. Toenail fungus, athlete's foot, and ingrown toenails may lead to more serious bacterial infections.

6. Drainage of pus from a wound is usually a sign of infection. Persistent bloody drainage is also a sign of a potentially serious foot problem.

7. A limp or difficulty walking can be sign of joint problems, serious infection, or improperly fitting shoes.

8. Fever or chills in association with a wound on the foot can be a sign of a limb-threatening or life-threatening infection.

9. Red streaking away from a wound or redness spreading out from a wound is a sign of a progressively worsening infection.

10. New or lasting numbness in the feet or legs can be a sign of nerve damage from diabetes, which increases a persons risk for leg and foot problems.

Diabetes Foot Care Tips

1. Check your feet daily - especially if you have low sensitivity or no feeling in your feet. Sores, cuts and grazes could go unnoticed and you could develop problems leading to amputations.

2. Don't go around barefoot, even indoors. It's easy to tread on something or stub your toes and cut yourself. Protect your feet with socks/stockings and
shoes/slippers.

3. Be careful if you have corns or calluses. Check with your doctor or podiatrist the best way to care for them.

4. Wash your feet daily in warm, NOT HOT water. And don't soak your feet (even if you've been standing all day) because it could dry your skin and form cracks or sores.

5. Take extra care to dry your feet completely, especially between your toes. These are natural moisture traps - leaving them damp or wet could create all sorts of problems.

6. Exercise your legs and feet regularly. Even when sitting you can rotate your ankles; wiggle your toes or move your legs up and down. These all keep your blood circulation flowing and helps to minimize the risk of foot problems.

7. Get your feet professionally checked, at least once a year, for sensitivity and signs of any problems. You can usually arrange this when you have your annual check up for your AC1 levels (blood glucose levels over a 3-month period), blood pressure and cholesterol.

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