Diabetes can cause nerve damage that reduces sensation in your feet. So, you may have an injury without even knowing it, and these may get infected. Diabetes also causes peripheral vascular disease and reduces blood flow in your legs and feet, making it harder for cuts or sores to heal and a small infection can become very serious. As a result of decreased blood flow to the foot, the patient can have symptoms such as rest pain (pain in the feet while lying and relief of pain with the foot hanging by the side of the bed), gangrene (blackening of toes) or foot ulceration. Foot ulcers and non-healing wounds are the most common reason for hospitalization of people with diabetes and the primary causes of limb amputation. With proper and consistent foot care many of these amputations can be prevented.
Dr. Avik Bhattacharya, Consultant at CMRI Department of Intervention Radiology says, “If you are diabetic, you may suffer from foot problems and yet feel no pain. The wise way to handle this is by checking your feet once each day thoroughly. Inspect for cuts, sores, red spots blisters, ingrown toenails, corns or calluses, rough skin patch, warts etc. Diabetic patients must pay close attention to avoid getting wounded and if wounded, should take special care of the wounds.”
For physically active patients or patients with existing foot problems, it is important to get regular check-ups to avoid any complication. General diabetic patients must go for complete foot check-up once a year. If you notice that any part of your skin has blackened and feels numb, rush to a doctor. Untreated ulcers can often lead to abscesses that can easily spread to other regions of legs and feet. In serious cases, ulcer might develop as black tissue surrounds it and lack of blood flow escalates the issue to partial or complete gangrene.
The precautions you should take-
- Keep your blood sugar under control, quit smoking and drinking. Maintain a healthy diet plan that’s naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. Take your meals at regular times. Consult a dietician if you need help
- Check your feet daily for cuts, red spots and swelling, wash your feet daily with warm water and dry your feet especially in between the toes
- Keep the skin smooth and soft by using a skin cream or lotion. Ensure that your feet are always clean and dry
- Trim your toe nails regularly. Trim them in a straight manner to steer clear of any complication. Don’t cut them too short. Take care of ingrown toe nails. Apply anti-septic ointment. Avoid stubbing your toes and hurting them
- Appropriate comfortable, well-fitting shoes are essential and barefoot walking should be avoided. Wear socks if possible, along with shoes. Stay away from stuffy shoes which create undue pressure on the feet
- If you develop rough skin, corns, or calluses, ask your doctor to treat them, do not treat them yourself. Go for comprehensive foot examination every time you visit your healthcare provider
- Regular exercise like walking, dancing, and swimming is good for your feet. Don’t strain your feet much but always be active so that your blood circulation improves over time
Angioplasty is a form of minimally invasive surgery intended to access many regions of the body via major blood vessels. In this procedure, dilatation of the stenosed arterial segment of the leg is done to improve the blood flow. If angioplasty and proper wound debridement are done on time, the patient can be saved from limb amputation. Otherwise, minor ulcer infections can be prevented with foot baths, changing the dressing regularly, disinfecting the skin around an ulcer etc. Talk to your doctor for the correct medication plan.