Diabetic Foot Care


One of the most common complications of diabetes is diabetic foot. A simple cut or the smallest of puncture wounds can lead to a grave infection that is quite hard to cure. It is most dreaded by many diabetic patients for it can lead to a loss of a limb which may cause low self-esteem due to altered body image. To understand how to care for a diabetic foot, you must know how it is caused and why it is a common complication for diabetic patients:

 Slow blood return: Because your blood is viscous due to high concentration of glucose, it is slowly circulated in the body. Poor venous return is most noted on the lower limbs, and this may result to poor oxygenation of limb tissues, particularly the nerves.

Other tissues of your limbs will also become less resistant to trauma. Cell walls are now less-resilient, and this can place the tissues at high risk for injury.

 Destruction of nerves: The lack of proper oxygen and nourishment for your limbs can cause nerve destruction. This is first manifested by Paresthesia, which is a burning or needles-and-pins sensation. This is called the “last resort” of nerves, a state of hypersensitivity before they eventually die.

Dead nerve endings will resort to poor tactile perception on the skin of your limbs. Dulled perception can lessen your reaction to trauma and pain, so you won’t be able to instinctively lessen your foot’s pressure on a sharp object.

 Low resistance to infection: Low blood circulation lessens the number of white blood cells in your area. Any microbial invasion cannot be remedied immediately by your immune system. Severe infection coupled by impaired cell repair can lead to gangrene. Gangrene now poses a need for amputation in order to prevent the spread of infection which is life threatening.

How to care for your diabetic foot

To prevent any injury for your diabetic foot, you must implement the following steps carefully.

1) Always wash your feet thoroughly with mild soap. Always see that the areas between your toes are cleaned and free from any debris. Dry your feet thoroughly, still giving careful attention in between toe areas. Pat dry, and do not rub.

2) Never let your feet stay wet for a long time.

3) Cut fingernails straight across and do not shape them. Use a special clipper for toe nails so you can protect yourself from accidental injury. Always do nail care on good light conditions.

4) Do not pull on hang nails, and never remove any ingrown by yourself. Let your doctor or podiatrist do it for you.

5) Apply special lotion to prevent your skin from drying. Drying causes skin to crack and that can be an avenue for microbial infection.

6) Always examine your feet for any redness, tenderness, irritation, cracks on skin, or any other injury. If noted, contact your doctor or podiatrist immediately for proper management and care.

7) Never cut off calluses. Cutting them off will only cause a break in your skin, or worse cause a bleeding injury. Remember that your healing abilities are also compromised so do not harm yourself needlessly.

8) Always wear comfortable, closed shoes. Never wear open-toed, thong-style, or any slipper that requires material to be inserted between toes for stability.

9) Properly fitted shoes are a must. Don’t wear snug-fitting shoes and think they need to be “broken-in” for proper fit. As much as possible, only buy natural material and no synthetic ones.

10) Properly insulate your feet depending on weather conditions.

11) Never, ever, EVER go barefoot. Remember you already have compromised sensation, and the smallest of pebbles can produce the greatest of problems with your foot.

12) Avoid standing for long periods of time, and never sit cross-legged. Both further compromise venous return by impeding circulation. At the end of the day, prop your feet up higher than your head so that blood can be circulated in your legs.

Always follow these guidelines and maintain your regular check up with your doctor and/or podiatrist. Keep in mind that you need to keep a close watch on your feet to prevent any other problems with diabetic foot.


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