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Why Do You Have To Have Your Feet Checked When You Have Diabetes?

Diabetes Foot Care

Diabetes Foot Care

You're more likely to have foot problems with diabetes because it can damage your nerves and lessen blood flow to your feet. The American Diabetes Association estimates that it's the reason why 1 in 5 people with diabetes who seek hospital care do so. You have to take care of your feet when you have diabetes. Poor foot care may lead to amputation of a foot or leg. Your doctor will check yours each year for problems. If you take good care of your feet, you can prevent most serious problems related to diabetes. Use mild soaps and warm water. Pat your skin dry; do not rub. Thoroughly dry your feet. After washing, put lotion on them to prevent cracking. But not between your toes! Look carefully at the tops and bottoms of your feet. Have someone else do it if you can't see them. Check for dry, cracked skin. Look for blisters, cuts, scratches, or other sores. Check for redness, increased warmth, or tenderness when you touch an area. Watch for ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses. If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, don't "pop" it. Put a bandage over it, and wear a different pair of shoes. Cut toenails after bathing, when they are soft. Trim them straight across, then smooth with a nail file. Avoid cutting into the corners of toes. You may want a podiatrist (foot doctor) to do it for you. Don't cut cuticles. Walk and work out in comfortable shoes. Don't exercise when you have open sores on your feet. Continue reading >>

Diabetes: Foot Problems And Foot Care

Diabetes: Foot Problems And Foot Care

F A C T S H E E T F O R P A T I E N T S A N D F A M I L I E S People with diabetes are at risk for foot problems. This handout explains why these problems occur and what you can do to protect your feet. Why are foot problems so common in people with diabetes? In people with diabetes, high blood glucose can cause two complications — both of which can result in foot problems. You may have one or both of these: • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Nerve damage from high blood glucose usually begins in the hands and feet. It can cause painful symptoms — tingling, aching, or throbbing — but it can also reduce sensation. If you can’t really feel cold, heat, or pain in your feet, it’s easy to ignore an injury or infection. And unfortunately, in people with diabetes, even a small blister or stubbed toe can become serious. • Poor circulation. High blood glucose can damage your blood vessels and reduce blood flow to your feet. This means that injuries take longer to heal. Over time, poor circulation in your feet can even change the shape of your feet and toes. This can cause problems with the way you walk. Are foot problems really that serious? In people with diabetes, yes — foot problems can be very serious. In the worst cases, they can lead to deformed feet, wounds that won’t heal, and serious infections that require surgery. In fact, diabetes-related foot problems are a leading reason for leg and foot amputations. Fortunately, good care can lower your chance of serious problems. Following the steps outlined at right, you and your medical caregivers can work together to care for your feet. However, the most important things are those you do (and don’t do) on your own to protect your feet. See the next page for these do Continue reading >>

Give Yourself A Diabetic Foot Check-up

Give Yourself A Diabetic Foot Check-up

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is best treated by a team of healthcare professionals including family physicians, diabetes educators, wound care specialists, nurses, podiatrists, surgeons, orthopedists, prosthetists, nutritionists and many others. However, the person with diabetes is the center of this team; they are the recipient of the care and the entire reason the team was assembled. This does not take away the person with diabetes’ responsibility to do their part, to control their diabetes and take care of their feet to prevent complications such as ulcers and amputations. One of the simplest and most important things a persons with diabetes can do to protect their feet is to examine their feet every day. The good news is that you don’t need any special tool or be an athlete or super flexible to do a foot self-exam. It is recommended that all persons with diabetes check their feet daily. The purpose of checking the feet is to identify any active or potential foot problems that may lead to ulcers. Getting an ulcer or wound on the foot puts the diabetic at high risk for getting an amputation. To prevent an amputation we must do all we can to prevent an ulcer. Looking at your feet regularly can prevent an ulcer as well as alert you to the presence of an ulcer, which can be treated and healed quickly before it becomes infected. If any problems or potential problems are identified they can be prevented or treated early by the podiatrist to prevent ulcers and amputations. A number of challenges such as a poor vision, blindness, limited flexibility, arthritis, foot deformity and even a large belly can make doing a foot self exam difficult. If you are unable to check your own feet, ask a friend, family member or caretaker to help. Here are some simple steps to foll Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Your Feet

Diabetes And Your Feet

If you have diabetes, here’s a way to keep standing on your own two feet: check them every day—even if they feel fine—and see your doctor if you have a cut or blister that won’t heal. There’s a lot to manage if you have diabetes: checking your blood sugar, making healthy food, finding time to be active, taking medicines, going to doctor’s appointments. With all that, your feet might be the last thing on your mind. But daily care is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications. Between 60% and 70% of people with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). You can have nerve damage in any part of your body, but nerves in your feet and legs are most often affected. Nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. Feeling No Pain Some people with nerve damage have numbness, tingling, or pain, but others have no symptoms. Nerve damage can also lower your ability to feel pain, heat, or cold. Living without pain sounds pretty good, but it comes at a high cost. Pain is the body’s way of telling you something’s wrong so you can take care of yourself. If you don’t feel pain in your feet, you may not notice a cut, blister, sore, or other problem. Small problems can become serious if they aren’t treated early. Risk Factors Anyone with diabetes can develop nerve damage, but these factors increase your risk: Nerve damage, along with poor circulation—another diabetes complication—puts you at risk for developing a foot ulcer (a sore or wound) that could get infected and not heal well. If an infection doesn’t get better with treatment, your toe, foot, or part of your leg may need to be amputated (removed by surgery) to prevent the infection from spreading and to save your life. When you check your feet every day, you can catch problems early Continue reading >>

Patient Education: Nerve Damage Caused By Diabetes (the Basics)

Patient Education: Nerve Damage Caused By Diabetes (the Basics)

The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2017 UpToDate, Inc. All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete. Can diabetes cause nerve damage? — Yes. People with diabetes (sometimes called "diabetes mellitus") can get nerve damage if they have high blood sugar levels for a long time. Another word for nerve damage is "neuropathy." People with diabetes can get different types of nerve damage. This article covers the most common type of nerve damage caused by diabetes. What are the symptoms of nerve damage caused by diabetes? — Nerve damage usually affects the toes and feet first. Some people do not feel any symptoms, but other people can have symptoms that include: Numbness or loss of feeling Burning or pain, which is often worse at rest or at night Feeling light touches as bothersome or painful As nerve damage gets worse, symptoms can move from the feet up the legs. Some people might also start to feel symptoms in their hands. Is there a test for nerve damage caused by diabetes? — Yes. Your doctor can usually tell if you have nerve damage by talking with you and doing an exam. Sometimes, a doctor will do a test to check how well a person's nerves are working. This test is called "electromyography." How does nerve damage lead to problems? — Nerve damage can lead to problems because it can make people unable to feel pain in their feet. Normally, people feel pain when they get a cut on their foot. The pain tells them that they need Continue reading >>

Why Is Foot Care Important When I Have Diabetes?

Why Is Foot Care Important When I Have Diabetes?

Having diabetes increases your risk for foot sores, infections, and injury. The problems can range from minor sores to permanent damage to the foot. Sometimes foot problems can get so bad that the foot or even the leg may have to be amputated. It’s important to learn how to care for your feet and legs to lower the risk of infection and prevent the possible loss of your foot or leg. What is the cause of foot problems? When you have diabetes, you may develop poor blood flow to your feet. This makes it harder for your feet to fight infections and heal from injuries. As a result, infections and sores on your feet are more likely to become serious. Without treatment, severe infections can cause the flesh of your foot to die (gangrene). People who have diabetes are much more likely to have gangrene in the foot than people who do not have diabetes. Because diabetes damages nerve endings (a problem called neuropathy), you may not feel pain if you hurt your foot or get an infection. This can make it hard for you to know when your foot needs medical treatment. This is why it’s so important for you to check your feet every day. What are the symptoms of a foot problem? The first symptoms of an injury or infection may be swelling or redness. Another possible symptom is pain, but often people who have had diabetes for awhile cannot feel pain in the foot. Sores may appear on the skin of your foot. They may heal but later come back in the same place. If the sores are not treated, the flesh may die and turn black. Or the infection may spread. If the infection spreads to the blood, it can be fatal. How are foot problems diagnosed? Your healthcare provider will suspect that you are developing a sore if there is an area of redness or a blister on your foot. Most often sores are on the Continue reading >>

Caring For Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Caring For Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Treating your feet like crown jewels may sound a bit wacky, but they’re worth it. Diabetes affects both the feeling in and the blood flow to your feet, which makes it easy for problems to sneak up. And foot problems, annoying enough by themselves, are just a step away from bigger problems. “People who have uncontrolled diabetes can develop neuropathy,” says Bonnie W. Greenwald, MD, Chief of Endocrinology at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York, “which causes a lack of sensation, including pressure and temperature sensations.” Neuropathy can also affect the functioning of your foot muscles; your feet may lose proper alignment, or you may put abnormal pressure on certain areas of your feet when you walk. David Kerr, MD, Director of Research and Innovation at William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, California, says neuropathy, or nerve damage, affects at least 30% to 40% of people with diabetes. Unfortunately, neuropathy can be prevented or stopped only with good control of blood sugar. “People with diabetes can also develop peripheral artery disease (PAD), or poor flood flow, which additionally puts them at risk for foot ulcers,” says Greenwald. Poor blood flow makes it harder for the body to heal, which increases the risk for skin ulcers and gangrene, or tissue death. PAD affects about 20% of people age 55 and older, and according to the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center, people with diabetes have two to four times the risk of developing the condition compared to those without diabetes. PAD has no direct treatment except preventive measures such as controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, and quitting smoking. In some cases, a doctor can perform an angioplasty, a surgery that widens a narrowed artery, Continue reading >>

Amputation And Diabetes: How To Protect Your Feet

Amputation And Diabetes: How To Protect Your Feet

Good diabetes management and regular foot care help prevent severe foot sores that are difficult to treat and may require amputation. Diabetes complications can include nerve damage and poor blood circulation. These problems make the feet vulnerable to skin sores (ulcers) that can worsen quickly. The good news is that proper diabetes management and careful foot care can help prevent foot ulcers. In fact, better diabetes care is probably why the rates of lower limb amputations have gone down by more than 50 percent in the past 20 years. When foot ulcers do develop, it's important to get prompt care. More than 80 percent of amputations begin with foot ulcers. A nonhealing ulcer that causes severe damage to tissues and bone may require surgical removal (amputation) of a toe, foot or part of a leg. Some people with diabetes are more at risk than others. Factors that lead to an increased risk of an amputation include: High blood sugar levels Smoking Nerve damage in the feet (peripheral neuropathy) Calluses or corns Foot deformities Poor blood circulation to the extremities (peripheral artery disease) A history of foot ulcers A past amputation Vision impairment Kidney disease High blood pressure, above 140/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) Here's what you need to know to keep your feet healthy, the signs you need to see a doctor and what happens if amputation is necessary. Preventing foot ulcers The best strategy for preventing complications of diabetes — including foot ulcers — is proper diabetes management with a healthy diet, regular exercise, blood sugar monitoring and adherence to a prescribed medication regimen. Proper foot care will help prevent problems with your feet and ensure prompt medical care when problems occur. Tips for proper foot care include the followin Continue reading >>

How To Look After Your Feet If You Have Diabetes

How To Look After Your Feet If You Have Diabetes

It's especially important to look after your feet if you have diabetes. Here's how to take care of your feet and advice on when to get professional help. Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling known as peripheral neuropathy. This can mean foot injuries do not heal well, and you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured. "The risk of complications can be greatly reduced if you're able to bring your blood sugar levels under control," says foot specialist Mike O'Neill. "Ensure that your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also monitored and controlled with medication if needed." Foot care tips if you have diabetes See a private or NHS podiatrist at least once a year. You should be eligible for an NHS podiatrist if you have a long term condition such as diabetes. Ask your GP for a referral or find a local podiatrist. Keep your feet clean and free from infection. Wear shoes that fit well and don't squeeze or rub. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns and calluses, ulcers and nail problems. Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach on holidays to avoid cuts and try to avoid sitting with your legs crossed so you don't constrict your blood circulation. Cut or file your toenails regularly. Get corns or hard skin treated by a podiatrist. Stop smoking to protect your feet If you have diabetes, it's important to try to stop smoking. Smoking impairs the blood circulation, particularly in people with diabetes. It can seriously worsen foot and leg problems. Read more about how the NHS can help you to stop smoking. When to see a doctor Seek treatment from your GP or podiatrist if blisters or injuries do not heal quickly. You should see your doctor urgently if: you notice breaks in the skin of your foot, or discharge seep Continue reading >>

47 Podiatrists Share Tips On Good Foot Care For Those With Diabetes

47 Podiatrists Share Tips On Good Foot Care For Those With Diabetes

Here is exactly what we asked our panel of experts: What tips would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed? Why do you think a lot of people ignore their foot care when it comes to diabetes? Featured Answer Dr. Ira H. Kraus, President, American Podiatric Medical Association A1: The most important tip I would give to anyone newly diagnosed with diabetes is to include a podiatrist in your care team. That may seem like a self-serving tip! But independent studies show that when a podiatrist is involved in caring for a person with diabetes, that person’s risk of hospitalization and diabetes-related amputations goes down dramatically. Seeing a podiatrist once a year can help you prevent diabetic ulcers, and if you do develop an ulcer, seeing a podiatrist can help reduce the risk of amputation by up to 80 percent. I would also suggest that people newly diagnosed with diabetes simply pay close attention to their feet. Prevention can be the key. Watch your feet daily for any changes, and if you see something that concerns you, get in to see your podiatrist as soon as possible! A2: A diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming. It comes with a lot of lifestyle changes and a lot of concerns. Our feet are literally the furthest things from our minds, so it’s not surprising that many people overlook them as they’re growing accustomed to living with diabetes. Also, many people don’t understand the serious complications diabetes can cause in the feet, and by the time they realize there’s a problem, it is a significant problem. People do not realize that simple things that they have been living with for years like: dry skin, athletes foot, skin fissures or calluses can lead to serious complications. The good news is that those small steps of examining your feet once a day and Continue reading >>

12 Healthy Feet Tips If You Have Diabetes

12 Healthy Feet Tips If You Have Diabetes

iStock/VisualCommunications Everyone gets a blister or callus now and then, but these little bothers are much more serious for people with diabetes, whose feet are particularly vulnerable to infection. Poor blood circulation, which is common with type 2 diabetes, makes healing more difficult. And because of nerve damage, you might not feel sores, blisters, or cuts. So check your feet every night before you pull the covers back. The ritual will become second nature in no time. Make sure to pay attention to these other diabetes complications too. iStock/mediaphotos There are many reasons that a person with diabetes might have a hard time checking his or her feet thoroughly: back problems, obesity, and arthritis may reduce the flexibility you need to inspect your feet closely. Diminished eyesight makes the task more difficult, too. In any case, enlist your spouse's help. The slight inconvenience that it might be to ask for someone's help is a lot better than finding out about foot injuries too late. Keep a small mirror under your bed iStock/mihalec It's pretty easy to see the tops and sides of your feet, but many people aren't agile enough to get a good look at the bottoms. Buy a mirror that's about the size of a sheet of notebook paper and place it mirror-side up under your bed. At bedtime, use your toes to slide the mirror out from under the bed. Examine your feet in the mirror and then slide the mirror back into its hiding place. Keep your eyes open for irritations large and small iStock/Jan-Otto When you conduct your foot check, keep an eye out for open sores and cuts. Signs of infection include swelling, redness, drainage, oozing, or warmth. Call your doctor immediately if you see any of these symptoms around a sore, at the site of a splinter or cut, or around your to Continue reading >>

How Can Diabetes Affect The Feet?

How Can Diabetes Affect The Feet?

People with diabetes are prone to foot problems caused by prolonged periods of high blood sugar. There are two main foot problems, each of which can have serious complications. Diabetes is a disease where the body cannot produce insulin or cannot use it effectively. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for helping the cells take in sugar to use for energy. When this does not happen properly, the levels of sugar in the blood can become too high. Prolonged periods of high sugar levels in the blood can wreak havoc on many areas of the body, including the feet. Diabetic foot problems The two main foot problems that affect people with diabetes are: Diabetic neuropathy Over time, diabetes can cause nerve damage that makes it hard for people with diabetes to feel sensation in their extremities. The condition also makes it difficult for a person to feel an irritation on their foot or notice when their shoes are rubbing. This lack of sensation and awareness leads to an increase in the risk of cuts, sores, and blisters developing. Peripheral vascular disease Diabetes leads to changes in the blood vessels, including arteries. In peripheral vascular disease, fatty deposits block these vessels beyond the brain and heart. It tends to affect the blood vessels leading to and from the extremities, reducing blood flow to the hands and feet. Reduced blood flow can lead to pain, infection, and slow healing wounds. Severe infections may lead to amputation. Symptoms Symptoms may vary from person to person and may depend on what issues a person is experiencing at the time. Symptoms of diabetic foot problems can include the following: loss of feeling numbness or tingling sensation blisters or other wounds without painful skin discoloration skin temperature changes red streaks wounds with Continue reading >>

Diabetes Foot Care Guidelines

Diabetes Foot Care Guidelines

Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet—even a small cut can produce serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. Because of these problems, you may not notice a foreign object in your shoe. As a result, you could develop a blister or a sore. This could lead to an infection or a nonhealing wound that could put you at risk for an amputation. To avoid serious foot problems that could result in losing a toe, foot or leg, follow these guidelines. Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything. Bathe feet in lukewarm, never hot, water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm water—the temperature you would use on a newborn baby. Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes. Moisturize your feet but not between your toes. Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But don't moisturize between the toes—that could encourage a fungal infection. Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toenails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor. Never treat corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment. Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily. Consider socks made specifically for patients living with diabetes. These socks have extra cushioning, do not have elastic tops, are highe Continue reading >>

How To Check Feet For Complications Of Diabetes

How To Check Feet For Complications Of Diabetes

1 Be aware of numbness in your feet. One of the initial and most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy that diabetics notice is that their feet lose sensation and become numb.[2] It can start in the toes, then progress to the rest of the foot and then up the leg in a stocking-like distribution. Usually both feet are affected, although one side may begin first or be more noticeable than the other. Related to the numbness is a reduced ability to feel pain from excessive temperatures (both hot and cold). Because of this, diabetics are at greater risk of getting scalded from a hot bath or getting frostbite during the winter. Chronic numbness can prevent a diabetic from knowing when their foot is cut, blistered or otherwise injured. This phenomenon is very common in diabetics, and can result in the foot becoming infected. Sometimes, the neuropathy is so bad that the foot is infected for a long time before the person realizes it, and the infection can get deep into the tissue and even affect the bone. This can require a long course of IV antibiotics and can be potentially life-threating. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms, such as numbness, are usually worse at night while in bed. 2 Be alert to tingling and burning sensations. Another common symptom is uncomfortable sensations, such as tingling, pins and needles and/or burning pain.[3] Such sensations can feel similar to those when circulation returns to your foot after it has been "asleep." The uncomfortable sensations, called paresthesia, range from mild to severe and don't usually affect both feet equally. Tingling and burning sensations usually begin on the bottom (soles) of the feet, although they can also progress up the legs. These strange sensations can sometimes mimic a fungal infection (Athlete's foot) or an insect b Continue reading >>

Diabetes, Foot Care And Foot Ulcers

Diabetes, Foot Care And Foot Ulcers

Some people with diabetes develop foot ulcers. A foot ulcer is prone to infection, which may become severe. This leaflet aims to explain why foot ulcers sometimes develop, what you can do to help prevent them, and typical treatments if one does occur. Why are people with diabetes prone to foot ulcers? Foot ulcers are more common if you have diabetes because one or both of the following complications develop in some people with diabetes: Reduced sensation of the skin on your feet. Narrowing of blood vessels going to the feet. Your nerves may not work as well as normal because even a slightly high blood sugar (glucose) level can, over time, damage some of your nerves (neuropathy). Read more about diabetic neuropathy. If you have diabetes you have an increased risk of developing narrowing of the blood vessels (arteries), known as peripheral arterial disease. The arteries in the legs are quite commonly affected. This can cause a reduced blood supply (poor circulation) to the feet. Skin with a poor blood supply does not heal as well as normal and is more likely to be damaged. What increases the risk of developing foot ulcers? If you have reduced sensation to your feet (see above). The risk of this occurring increases the longer you have diabetes and the older you are. If your diabetes is poorly controlled. This is one of the reasons why it is very important to keep your blood sugar (glucose) level as near normal as possible. If you have narrowed blood vessels (arteries) - see above. The risk of this occurring increases the longer you have diabetes, the older you become and also if you are male. The risk also increases if you have any other risk factors for developing furring of the arteries. For example, if you smoke, do little physical activity, have a high cholesterol leve Continue reading >>

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