There are two main problems that can affect a diabetic’s feet. Firstly, with damage to the nervous system, a person with diabetes may not be able to feel his or her feet properly. As well, normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is impaired. These factors together can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and can lead to breakdown of the skin of the foot. Sores may develop.
The second issue is that damage to blood vessels and impairment of the immune system can make it difficult to heal these wounds on diabetic feet. Because of the poor blood flow, antibiotics cannot get to the site of the infection easily. In severe cases these infections can develop into gangrene and often the only treatment for this is amputation. So what can a diabetic do to prevent things from getting to this point?
The best treatment for the foot issues that can face diabetics is prevention. This starts with good control of your blood sugar as this is the only way to prevent all of the diabetic complications. Diabetics need to recognize foot problems early and to seek treatment promptly when they occur. Here are the preventative measures that diabetics can take to maintain the health of their feet:
Proper Footwear: Poorly fitting shoes are a common cause of diabetic foot problems. Diabetics should wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with socks whenever possible to protect your feet. Never walk barefoot, even indoors. Always check the insides of your shoes before putting them on. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no foreign objects in the shoe, such as pebbles. To be sure your shoes fit properly you should shop at shoe stores that offer professional footwear fittings for people with diabetes. Footwear for diabetics should have the following features – deep, wide
Orthotics: For diabetics you may need custom shoe inserts or orthotics to be sure that there is no pressure being placed on certain parts of your feet. By customizing the orthotic to your foot, the insert will provide the best comfort and protection for the diabetic foot. Our certified pedorthists specialize in assessing for custom orthotics.
Foot Care: Proper foot care for diabetics is very important. Soles in Motion has a foot care nurse available. Use a water-based moisturizer every day (but not between your toes)to prevent dry skin, as a crack in the skin can allow germs to enter. Always wear seamless socks or nylons with your shoes and be sure your socks are made of materials that wisk moisture away from your feet and absorb shock. Avoid elastic socks and hosiery because they may affect the circulation in your feet.