The potential of limb loss with diabetic foot health is a real and challenging issue to face by yourself. Thankfully, the ADA has expert strategies and advice to help you manage complications to reduce the risk of amputation and community-building strategies to help you cope if you are dealing with limb loss. Learn how we can help you no matter where you are in your diabetes journey.
Poor circulation (blood flow) can make your foot less able to fight infection and heal. Diabetes causes blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden.
Compression socks gently apply pressure to feet and legs. Wearing them can be helpful to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling.
Diabetes can cause changes in the skin of your foot. At times your foot may become very dry. The skin may peel and crack. This problem is caused by nerve damage that affects your body's ability to control the oil and moisture in your foot.
Use a daily moisturizer to keep the feet healthy and looking great. Look for speciality products specifically formulated for people with diabetes.
Calluses occur more often and build up faster on the feet of people with diabetes. Too many calluses may mean that you will need therapeutic shoes and inserts. Calluses, if not trimmed, get very thick, break down, and turn into ulcers (open sores).
Avoid over-the-counter treatments to remove calluses since they use acids that can be harmful to a diabetic foot.
Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Ulcers on the sides of the foot are usually due to poorly fitting shoes. Even though some ulcers may not hurt, every ulcer should be seen by your doctor right away. Neglecting ulcers can result in infections, which can lead to limb loss.
Consider the use of braces or crutches if you have a foot ulcer to promote healing while reducing pressure and irritation.
Nerve damage from diabetes is called neuropathy and can lessen your ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. This means that you may not notice a foot injury until the skin breaks down and becomes infected. Neuropathy can also lead to changes in the shape of your feet and toes. If your foot doesn't fit comfortably in regular shoes, ask your doctor about special therapeutic shoes or inserts.
Avoid going barefoot, even in your home, to reduce the risk of injury. Wearing socks and shoes (or slippers at home) gives feet extra protection.
People with diabetes are far more likely to deal with foot-related limb loss. Because of complications related to neuropathy, poor circulation, foot ulcers, and infections, it's important to monitor foot health to know how to prevent foot complications or stop them from getting worse. Most issues of limb loss are preventable by checking your feet daily, regular care and visits with your doctor, and proper footwear.
Examine your feet every day and look for blisters, cracks, and other signs of injury. Keep a diary of the changes in your feet and contact your doctor if conditions worsen.
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