Over 34 million Americans – about one in ten – have diabetes, a condition with many potential health risks due to the presence of high concentrations of sugar in your blood. Newcomers to the condition may be surprised by the amount of attention health care providers give to their feet. It has to do with their peripheral status. Your feet are not only furthest from your heart, the blood supply to them often works against gravity. High blood glucose levels take an extra toll on your toes.
The board-certified podiatrists at Ankle & Foot Associates are concerned about your feet, too. Summer is on its way, and though 2020 presents its own challenges, here are five tips to help ease the diabetes load on your feet, so that this potential trouble spot remains healthy.
Get glucose under control
Controlling blood glucose levels is the central point around which diabetes treatment revolves. Type 1 diabetics can’t manufacture insulin, the hormone that controls sugar levels in your body, while type 2 diabetics produce insulin but their bodies can’t use it effectively. In both cases, high levels of blood glucose can be bad news for your feet.
These levels damage both nerves and blood vessels. You may not be able to detect when your feet get injured, and when they do, infection may have an easier time starting, since healing capacity is diminished with elevated blood sugar. Take your medications as directed and eat a diabetes-friendly diet. When your blood sugar is under control, you minimize the advancing damage diabetes can cause.
Cover those toes
Summer brings freedom and freedom means liberation from shoes for many. However, little cuts and scrapes that you could once take for granted should no longer be ignored with the nerve damage that accompanies diabetes. Since your body now struggles to fight off infection that enters through slow-healing cuts and sores, prevention becomes more important.
Choose the right footwear
Not just any old shoe will do. Flip-flops can damage the skin between toes, once again raising the risk of infection. The thought of socks and shoes in July may be unattractive, but it’s a better alternative to festering sores and gangrene. Choose comfort over style to prevent common foot issues such as calluses and corns. Many insurances cover Diabetic shoes and the days of clunky orthopedic shoes are over. Diabetic shoes are now available in brands like New Balance and Brooks. Talk to one of our diabetic foot specialists about whether or not Diabetic Shoes can help you.
Check it daily
Diabetes means daily foot inspections. Since you can’t count on your nerves to tell you something is wrong, self-checks become crucial. Use mirrors if necessary or enlist the aid of a loved one if you can’t inspect all foot surfaces. Cuts, sores, rough spots, and cracked skin between toes are all cause for concern, even if they seem minor.
Visit Ankle & Foot Associates
When you have any foot issue, it’s important to talk to an experienced professional, so that a little foot problem doesn’t get out of hand due to nerve damage and slow healing. Contact Ankle & Foot Associates today for treatment of all of your foot and ankle problems. We have 15 convenient locations throughout southeast Georgia and South Carolina.