What is the fact between Diabetes & Feet?
Currently India’s diabetic population is 65 million and 50% i.e. staggering 32.5 millionis suffering from “Peripheral Neuropathy”, leading to foot complications and severe deformities.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy and how can it affect my feet?
Excessive and/or fluctuation of sugar in your blood may cause poor blood flow, damaging nerves in the lower limb. The condition usually develops slowly, sometimes over the course of time. The damaged nerves initially slow down sending signals and as the disease progresses, sending the signals at the wrong time causing loss of sensation, numbness, tingling, pain and weakness leading to serious complications in your feet. This problem is known as “Peripheral Neuropathy”.
Ultimately the damaged nerves stop sending the signals period! And sores on your feet can become infected and if the blood glucose is high, it can lead to severe foot infection, ulcers, gangrene and ultimately limb amputation. It can also lead to changes in the muscles, bones, and shape of your feet.
Peripheral neuropathy can also cause muscle weakness and the loss of reflexes, which may lead to changes in your mobility, gait, and balance. Changes in walking sometimes cause foot deformities and foot injuries.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of neuropathy you’re experiencing. Some people experience these symptoms more often at night. Common signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include:·
- sensitivity to touch·
- difficulty with coordination when walking
- numbness or pain in your extremities
- muscle weakness or wasting
- nausea and indigestion
- diarrhea or constipation
- dizziness upon standing
- excessive sweating
- vaginal dryness in women and erectile dysfunction in men
What common foot problems can lead to pain or infections?
If you are diabetic, today you may not be suffering from peripheral neuropathy. However, this does not liberate you for the remaining life from this ailment, threatening your mobility and independent living.The common foot problems below may lead to pain, imbalance, infections,ulcers, gangrene and amputation.
– Corn & Calluses: Thick layer of skin on the plantar (bottom) surface
– Blister: The areas of skin that are raised and filled with fluid.
– Ingrown Toenails: Thick layer of skin on the plantar (bottom) surface
– Bunion: It’s a bump at the outside edge of your big toe. As the bump gets worse, it can be filled with extra bone and fluid.
– Hammertoe: The toes that are curl under your feet.
– Plantar warts: Small, flesh colored growths on the bottoms of your feet. Sometimes you see tiny, black dots in the warts.
– Athlete’s foot: It’s a fungus that causes itching, burning, redness, and cracking of your skin. The fungus grows on the soles of your feet and in between your toes.
– Dry and cracked skin: Gets rough,scaly, and flaking, may be gray if you have dark skin. Your skin may be red or itch.
– Fungal infection: The toenails become thick,hard to cut, and appear yellow, green, brown, or black. A nail may also falloff.
– Signs of infection on your feet include redness, discoloration,increasing pain; skin is warm and become sensitive.
Each‘Diabetic Foot Treatment’ cost on an average Rs. 20,000, i.e. enormous amountof Rs. 65,000 crores annually
It is rightly said that “Prevention is Better than Cure”Doctors estimate that nearly half of the amputations caused by neuropathy and poor circulation could be prevented by careful foot care. Here are a few simple things you need to do if you are a Diabetic
1. Loss of balance – Consult your physician
2. Walking – frequent walks to improve blood circulation
3. Preventive Pain Management i.e. Stop your physical activity the moment pain starts.
4. Inspect your feet daily for corn, callus, blisters,bleeding, or lesions between toes. Use a mirror to see the bottom of the foot and the heel.
5. Have a family or friend check your feet if you are unable to do so.
6. Have regular foot examination by your diabetic foot care specialist. Always remove both shoes and stockings when visiting your doctor.
7. Wash feet daily, using warm – not hot – water and a mild soap. Avoid soaking your feet and be sure to dry well between the toes.
8. Moisturize your feet cream liberally, but avoid between the toes
9. Each week or when needed, cut your toenails to the shape of your toes and file the edges with anemery board.
10. Inspect the soles and inside your shoes for foreign objects beforeputting them on.
11. Shoes should be properly measured,comfortable, and easy to put on at the time of purchase.
12. Do NOT use hot water bottles or heating padsto warm your feet. Use warmsocks instead.
13. Do NOT soak your feet.
14. Do NOT use acids or chemical corn removers.
15. Do NOT perform “bathroom surgery” on corns,calluses, or Ingrown toenails.
16. Test the temperature ofthe bath water with your ELBOW or THERMOMETER. Do NOT let hot water drip ontoyour toes.
17. Do NOT use hot waterbottles or heating pads to warm your feet. Use warm socks instead.
18. Call your foot care specialist immediately if you detect a new lesion or if your foot becomes swollen, red, or painful. Stay off your foot until you see your doctor.
19. If you’ve lost sensation, do NOT walkbarefooted in the house, outside, or at the beach.
20. Maintain good diabetescontrol and do not smoke
21. Always wear well-fittedstockings or socks with your shoes. Padded socks may reduce pressure and bemore protective.
22. Inspect the soles and inside your shoes for foreign objects before putting them on.
23. Shoes should beproperly measured, comfortable, and easy to put on at the time of purchase.
24. Wear leather shoes withadequate room for the toes. Running or athletic shoes are best for recreationalwalking.
25. Change shoes every four to six hours.
26. Wear leather shoes with adequate room for the toes. Running or athletic shoes are best for recreationalwalking.
27. Learn all you can about your diabetes and how it can affect your feet.
“Diabetes can affect anyone. But if left untreated can be deadly and may also cause Diabetic Foot complications”