October 30, 2009

Foot Problems Associated With Diabetes

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that reduces the body’s capacity to produce insulin or reduces the body’s ability to make use of the insulin produced by the pancreas. This leads to a reduction in the body’s capability to heal and rejuvenate. Diabetes also causes damage to blood vessels thus reducing the flow of blood to the legs and feet. This results in damage to the nerves and a gradual loss of sensation in the limbs, starting at the extremities. Prevention is always better than cure. Hence, it is imperative that people suffering from diabetes take good care of themselves and be very cautious in preventing any injury to any part of their body.

Diabetic people should pay special attention to their feet. Drying the feet thoroughly, after washing them with lukewarm water and a mild anti-bacterial soap, is very essential to prevent fungal infections that can cause serious complications in a diabetic individual. Keeping the toe nails clean and not cutting the nails too deep into the skin prevents toe nail fungus and ingrown toenails. Wearing well fitting socks at all times is recommended for people with diabetes as the socks help to absorb the shock and prevent bruising in case of an injury. Socks should be washed off all the sweat and dirt and dried properly daily. Footwear should fit well and be comfortable to prevent instances of shoe bites. When wearing new footwear or standing or walking for long periods of time, checking for chafing, soreness or blisters is recommended to prevent any serious problems. People suffering from diabetes should not walk barefoot as the numbness in the feet makes them oblivious to any pain caused by injury, nor are they able to differentiate between hot or cold surfaces.

Any wounds, cuts, or bruises, however miniscule, do not heal quickly due to the decreased flow of blood and low immunity and may lead to sores that can turn gangrenous. In some cases, the injuries become so severe that there is no option besides amputation. Light exercises, like a small walk, help to improve the blood circulation and improve the overall health of the individual. Tobacco and alcohol adversely affect the circulation of blood and increase leg and foot problems in diabetics. Checking your feet regularly will help to detect any injury at the earliest. The injury, however minor it may seem, needs immediate medical attention in a person suffering from diabetes. Home remedies should be avoided as they may cause further damage.