Diabetes Foot – What Causes Diabetic Foot Symptoms
What is diabetes foot?
Diabetes foot is a diabetes complication that is caused by two known conditions. These conditions are diabetes neuropathy (a nerve disorder) and poor blood circulation, otherwise known as peripheral vascular disease. Diabetes neuropathy leads to a loss of any feeling in foot of a diabetic individual.
This nerve damaging disorder, causes them to loose their ability to feel any pain sensations or discomfort in their feet.
Due to this condition, these individuals may not be able to detect any injuries or irritations to their feet as well.
Poor blood circulation on the other hand, reduces the ability for diabetics to properly heal from any type of cuts (no matter how small).
Poor blood circulation also reduces their ability to fight off any infections that may be related to their diabetes foot illness. Diabetes neuropathy or nerve damage disorder, may also lead to changes in the shape of a diabetic person feet or toes.
Diabetes foot symptoms
Diabetes neuropathy, poor blood circulation which leads to swelling and infections of the feet. It usually causes serious diabetic foot problems for individuals. Recognizing the symptoms of this diabetes foot complication can lead to early diabetic treatment and can prevent amputations. This put an in need of a wheel chair.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Tingling, burning, or damaged feet.
- Being insensitive to hot and cold temperatures in their feet.
- Changes in the color of their feet.
- The loss of hair on the toes, feet or lower legs.
- Dry and cracked feet.
- Thick toenails that are usually yellowish in color.
There are times when a diabetes foot problem may lead to the growth of fungus like infections also.
Diabetes foot complications
Diabetics are prone to many foot complications. Therefore, they have to ensure that they are always carrying out proper diabetic foot care at all cost. Diabetes neuropathy often affects the nerves of the feet which are the longest ones in the entire body.
When these particular nerves are affected or damaged, they cause a loss of the sensation in the feet which eventually leads to sores or injuries. These sores or injuries could go unnoticed by a diabetic and become infected. According to statistics, out of all the amputations that occur in the United States, occur with individuals that have diabetes.
This number is an alarming 86,000 amputations per year. This also means that the number of people that will need a wheel chair have increased. Individuals that have diabetes, are at a greater risk of developing a wide range of diabetes foot complications which include the following:
Diabetic foot ulcers. These are diabetes foot sores that occur most often on the ball of a diabetic's foot. They can also form at the bottom of their big toes as well. As was mentioned earlier, this problem is due to poor blood circulation in the feet. These diabetes foot ulcers often become infected. The one that occur on the side of the feet, are normally due to poorly fitted shoes.
These these diabetic foot ulcers are a serious diabetes complication that should be checked immediately by a physician. Neglecting any form of diabetic foot ulcers or infections, can lead to a loss of a limb or a part of one.
- Corns and calluses. If a diabetic individual has diabetes neuropathy, they will be unable to detect or feel if their shoes are exerting unwanted pressure on their feet. This can eventually lead to corns and calluses developing on the feet.
To avoid any of these problems from developing into an ulcer, diabetics should have them checked and treated immediately if needed.
- Skin problems. Because an individual has diabetes, the skin of their feet could undergo certain changes. Their skin can become very dry which leads to cracking and peeling. These skin problems are normally caused by damage to the nerves that are responsible for the control of oil and moisture in the feet.
In most cases like these, your doctor will prescribe a foot cream such as diabetiderm foot rejuvenating cream to help treat the cracking problem.
- Toenail problems. Persons with diabetes foot can also experience ingrown toe nails and serious fungal infections. These diabetic foot infections may go unnoticed due to the lack of feeling in their foot. These two conditions can eventually lead to the development of diabetes foot ulcers - if they are not treated in time
- Osteoporosis. Diabetics are at risk of developing brittle bones which can break very easily, if they have diabetes neuropathy and poor blood circulation. Breaking of bones can occur without any heavy blow or injury to the individual.
- Charcot diabetes foot. This condition causes serious deformity of the foot and can develop, if a diabetic person has loss the sensations in their feet.
This diabetes foot problem can also lead to broken bones in the foot which could also go undetected.
This will eventually lead to damage of the soft tissue in the foot; thus, causing the individual's foot to become deformed.
A diabetic can compound a fracture in their foot, by continuously walking on it. This is all because they are unable to feel any pain due to of nerve damage in their foot. This diabetes foot complication is usually so severe, that a diabetic may require amputation of that particular limb.
- Blocked artery. Individuals with diabetes often develop a condition called atherosclerosis which leads to blocked arteries in their bodies. These tiny blood vessels are responsible for supplying oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body but because of atherosclerosis, can become narrow and harden.
Whenever this happens, individuals will experience a restriction in blood flow or poor blood circulation in these arteries.
A severely blocked artery or arteries in the leg, may require surgery to open them up so that proper blood flow could be restored.
This procedure will normally be carried out by a vascular surgeon.
Unfortunately there are times when the vascular surgery may fail and a patient's wound does not heal.
whenever this happens, amputation of the limb may be the only treatment left.
- Amputation. Diabetics are more likely to end up in wheel chairs because they have to have a foot or leg amputated. This is simply because amputation is done more often on diabetics, than on non-diabetics. Amputation sometimes just involves a toe or two, but it could also be a part of the foot or the whole leg as mentioned before.
Problems that leads to amputations!
Many individuals with diabetics, end up in wheel chairs because had they had to undergo some type of amputation procedure. This happens because:
They have the arterial disease atherosclerosis, which causes a reduction in blood flow to their feet.
- They have diabetes neuropathy (nerve damage) which leads to loss of sensation in the feet.
These conditions together, make it very easy for individuals to develop diabetes foot ulcers and infections which can lead to amputations.
Diabetes foot care Management
According to medical doctors, the majority of all the amputations that occur, are due to diabetes neuropathy and poor blood circulation. However, it can be prevented if a diabetic individual carry out proper diabetes foot care procedures.
These diabetic foot care measures include:
- Inspection of your feet. Diabetics should inspect their feet daily for any signs of cuts, blisters, changes in the skin color, swelling, calluses, and other noticeable problems. Contact your health care provider right away, if you notice any of these problems.
- Clean your feet daily. Diabetics should clean their feet on a daily basis, using warm water and a very mild soap. Hot water should not be used and the feet should not be soaked. Be sure to properly dry your feet, using a very soft towel. Ensure that you get between the toes.
- Take care of any corns or calluses. Diabetics, you should file any corns or calluses with a pumice stone gently after you taken a bath or shower.
- Moisturize. Always use lotion or plain petroleum jelly to moisturize your feet but avoid the lotion getting between your toes.
- Protect your feet. As a diabetic individual, you should always protect your feet by wearing properly fitted shoes and a pair of thick but soft, seamless socks. This will prevent you from getting any skin irritations or injury to your feet. All new shoes should be broken in gradually, by wearing them for an hour at a time at first.
- Nail cutting. Be sure to trim your toe nails to the shape of your toes and gently file the edges with an emery board as needed.
- Shoe inspection. You should always inspect your shoes before you put them on. This way you will notice if there are any sharp edges, tears, or objects that can cause any injuries to your feet.
- Increased physical activity. By doing this, you can increase or improve blood circulation in your feet. There are many ways that you can exercise your feet, so ask your doctor for his or her recommendations on the best ones.
Good blood glucose monitoring and control, along with proper diabetic foot care, will help diabetics avoid serious diabetes complications that are associated with having diabetes or diabetes foot.
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