Diabetic Foot Care
According to current US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, over 29 million people living in the US have diabetes. Further, another roughly 86 million individuals have prediabetes. These numbers indicate that this is already a major issue in the United States, but one with the potential to become significantly worse. There is a strong connection between this disease and foot health, so it is important to know about diabetic foot care.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to produce insulin in sufficient quantities, allow cells to properly respond to insulin, or both. Insulin is a hormone that serves to regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream by enabling sugar to enter cells and be used for energy. This is a natural process and when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells are resistant to it, blood sugar levels are elevated and it causes long-term complications.
How does Diabetes Affect Feet?
There are two associated issues with diabetes that play a dangerously profound role in the health of feet. The first is neuropathy (nerve damage). When an individual has diabetic neuropathy, he or she is unable to feel pain or extreme
temperatures. In this situation, the person may sustain a cut or burn and not provide the necessary care for the injury, since he or she is unaware that it happened. This dramatically increases the risk of greater issues developing.
The other diabetic issue that affects feet is poor circulation. Feet are the furthest points from the heart, so blood takes longer to travel down and is sometimes slower going back up than in other body parts. This reduced blood flow that often comes with diabetes makes it difficult for the lower appendages to receive the nourishment they need.
What is Diabetic Foot Care?
To help prevent serious medical conditions from arising, individuals affected by this disease must take special care of their feet. Components of this include:
- Daily Foot Inspections – Given that neuropathy can impair the ability to feel if something is wrong, it is essential for diabetic individuals to inspect their feet every day. This inspection needs to be thorough, including the tops, bottoms, and between the toes.
- Proper Hygiene Practices – To decrease the risk of potentially dangerous infections from microorganisms, it is important to wash the feet completely with warm (not hot) water and mild soap.
- Careful Nail Trimming – In order to prevent a case of ingrown nails, which could increase the risk of infection, nails need to be clipped straight across and kept even with the edge of the toes.
- Foot Protection – Footwear should always be worn, even indoors. Prior to putting on socks and shoes, the insides should be inspected to ensure that there isn’t anything inside that could damage the feet.
- Regularly-Scheduled Foot Exams – Appointments at Brook Valley Podiatry with Dr. Birnbaum on a regular basis are a key component for preventing complications that can arise.
Why is Diabetic Foot Care Important?
An intelligent foot care plan (we can help you create one if you do not already have a plan in place) is essential for preventing issues from happening in the first place. Additionally, early detection of foot problems places you in the best position to have them treated in their most treatable stages. It is important to keep in mind that diabetes impairs the body’s immune system, so external help is often necessary.
The accompanying conditions of neuropathy and poor circulation can lead to serious complications that might ultimately necessitate the amputation of a toe, foot, or leg. A major concern with diabetes is the development of gangrene – tissue death. This decomposition of body tissue is irreversible and, on account of the risk or existence of infection, requires amputation.
Top Diabetic Foot Care in Spring Valley and Midwood, Brooklyn
Brook Valley Podiatry is committed to the health and safety of you and your whole family. Discover for yourself why our patients continually choose us for their foot care needs. Find out how we can help care for your feet by calling our Midwood, Brooklyn office at (718) 434-0600 or Spring Valley office at (845) 352-7507, or use our online form to schedule your appointment today.