- type="square">Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
Your ability to detect sensations or vibration may be diminished. Neuropathy allows injuries to remain unnoticed and untreated for lengthy periods of time. It may cause burning or sharp pains in feet and interfere with your sleep. Ironically, painful neuropathy may occur in combination with a loss of sensation. Neuropathy can also affect the nerves that supply the muscles in your feet and legs. This ‘motor neuropathy’ can cause muscle weakness or loss of tone in the thighs, legs, and feet, and the development of hammertoes, bunions, and other foot deformities.
- Poor Circulation
Persons with diabetes often have circulation disorders (peripheral vascular disease) that can cause cramping in the calf or buttocks when walking. The symptoms can progress to severe cramping or pain at rest, with associated color and temperature changes (the feet may turn bright red when hanging down and constantly feel cold). Also, the skin may become shiny, thinned and easily damaged. A reduction in hair growth and a thickening of the toenails might also be present.
Persons with diabetes are generally more prone to infections than non-diabetic people. Due to deficiencies in the ability of white blood cells to defend against invading bacteria, diabetics have more difficulty in dealing with and mounting an immune response to the infection.
Ulcers of the Foot
- Inspect your feet daily for blisters, bleeding, and lesions between your toes.
- Use a mirror to see the bottom of your foot and heel.
- Do not soak your feet unless the temperature of the water is lukewarm, not as hot as you can stand it. (95°-100° Fahrenheit).
- Avoid temperature extremes - do not use hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
- Wash your feet daily with warm, soapy water and dry them well, especially between the toes.
- Use a moisturizing cream or lotion daily, but avoid getting it between the toes.
- Do not use acids or chemical corn removers.
- Do not perform "bathroom surgery" on corns, calluses, or ingrown toenails.
- Trim your toenails carefully and file them gently. Have a podiatrist treat you regularly if you cannot trim them yourself without difficulty.
- Contact your podiatric surgeon immediately if your foot becomes swollen or is painful, or if redness occurs.
- Do not smoke.
- Learn all you can about diabetes and how it can affect your feet.
- Have regular foot examinations by your podiatric surgeon.
While these are some of the most commonly prescribed treatments for diabetic foot problems, others may be used. The podiatric surgeon will determine which treatment is likely to be the most successful in each case.