Diabetes causes all sorts of health problems, including in the feet. Helping people with diabetes to manage their foot health is one of a podiatrist’s most important jobs, and we take our responsibilities seriously at Knoxville Footcare. We’ve helped many of our patients to live comfortably and fully, but it’s important for them to know how to assist in their own care and for everyone to recognize the potential for diabetic foot problems to develop.
People with diabetes commonly suffer peripheral nerve damage, which means they have less nerve function in their limbs. This could mean that they experience pain or tingling, but it may also make it more difficult for them to feel anything at all. Because of this, people with diabetes have to examine themselves everyday for ulcers, dry skin, and other kinds of damage they might not be able to feel. Nerve damage can also interfere with the body’s ability to produce oils that protect the skin from abrasions. Combined with diabetic people’s poor circulation and difficulty fighting off infection, foot injuries may not only go unnoticed, but also be more severe and frequent.
Because people with peripheral nerve damage have difficulty determining the actual health of their feet, they’ll need professionals to trim calluses for them. Every ulcer, ingrown toenail, and fungus infection is cause for a person with diabetes to seek help from a podiatrist. At its worst, diabetic foot damage can result in damage to the foot’s bone structure and necessitate amputation, but most cases do not progress nearly that far. Some simple lifestyle modifications, such as patting the feet dry and applying lotion everyday, avoiding going barefoot, and avoiding shoes that pinch, in addition to daily self-examinations, can go a long way toward prevention.