Diabetes and complications with the feet have been connected for a long time. My aunt had diabetes before passing away at the age of 93. She always washed her feet and took other precautions, so I thought that diabetes was a disorder that affected your feet. Obviously, I was wrong.
However, this is a prime example of the effects that diabetes can have on your feet, especially if you do not take care of them. According to the American Diabetes Association, ADA, things that are “ordinary problems can get worse and lead to serious complications” (ADA, 2016). Therefore, it is very important to take care of your feet and check them every day.
But, before we know what to check for, we should know why we are checking in the first place. After all, what are the risks to your feet?
The ADA states that most issues with the feet are due to nerve damage. This is known as neuropathy. The ADA describes the symptoms of neuropathy as “tingling, pain (burning or stinging), or weakness in the foot. It can also cause loss of feeling in the foot, so you can injure it and not know it” (ADA, 2016). It causes poor blood flow to the feet and possibly a change of shape in a toe or the entire foot.
There can be some pain associated. However, the nerve damage sometimes causes a loss of pain and feeling. This will make it difficult to detect temperature or pain. A nail could be poking your foot through your shoe, and you might not even notice. That is why it is important to check your shoes, socks, and your feet for sores, blisters, and discoloration.
It is also good to check so you can prevent infection. If you are checking regularly, you will be able to catch open blisters or sores before they become an issue.
The ADA suggests that you ask your physician about “special therapeutic shoes” in order to help with possible disfiguration (ADA, 2016). This not only will help out with foot pain, but it can help out with pain in the rest of your body. As a former runner, I understand better than anyone that bad shoes can lead to serious pain throughout your whole body.
Therefore, getting footwear that will help protect your feet is a great idea. It could also stop more swelling by cutting off blood circulation through regular shoes if your foot has changed shapes. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health suggests that you wear socks and shoes at all times (NIDDK, 2016). They also suggest clipping your toenails straight across.
Taking the extra effort to take away pain in your feet can help substantially in maintaining your health. If you have pain in your feet, it will be extremely difficult to get any kind of exercise or do daily tasks. In conclusion, make sure to check your feet on a daily basis. Wash them. Talk to your doctor at your check-ups on how your feet are doing. That way, you can stay as healthy as possible.
American Diabetes Association (2016). Foot complications. Web. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Health Information Center. (2002). Diabetes and foot problems. Web. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/foot-problems