Diabetes is a complex disease that often changes your entire perspective about the foods you eat, the exercise you get, and what it means to live healthily. It should also change the way you view your feet.
Dr. Manjulatha Badam of Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic & Hyperbarics in San Antonio, Texas, is a board-certified internist and wound care specialist who’s fellowship-trained in hyperbaric medicine. She’s also an expert in diabetic foot care.
Dr. Badam explains how diabetes affects your feet and shares five signs that indicate it’s time to schedule an evaluation with a specialist.
Why is diabetic foot care so important?
Many of the complications associated with diabetes, especially poorly controlled diabetes, can have a significant impact on your nerve function, circulatory health, and ability to fight infection.
Left untreated, these issues can cause chronic and disabling pain, decreased mobility, and even limb amputation.
Common diabetic foot problems include:
Diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy) linked to elevated blood sugar levels interferes with your ability to feel pain from a blister, puncture, scrape, or other injury. It also decreases your sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
For these reasons, a small cut or abrasion may become infected before you’re even aware it exists.
Diabetes can narrow and stiffen the blood vessels in your legs and feet. This reduces normal blood flow, which can further affect your nerve health, reduce your ability to heal, and increase your risk of dangerous skin infections.
Skin changes related to diabetes are often the result of nerve damage and poor circulation that interfere with your body’s ability to maintain normal oil and moisture levels in your skin. You may have severe dryness, cracking, and peeling of the skin on your feet.
Diabetes also increases your risk of developing calluses that may eventually evolve into open sores (diabetic foot ulcers).
The key to effective diabetic foot care is to prevent these conditions from compromising your overall health and well-being by controlling your diabetes, checking your feet daily, and seeking appropriate specialty care when you notice changes.
Five signs that indicate you need diabetic foot care
At Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic & Hyperbarics, we encourage anyone with diabetes to come in for an exam if they have any questions or concerns about diabetic foot care.
Otherwise, schedule an appointment as soon as possible if you notice:
- Thickened or yellowed toenails
- Tingling or burning discomfort in your feet
- Changes in the skin color and temperature of your feet
- Visible callus, blister, sore, or area of redness
- Pain and cramping in your legs and feet
Based on the results of your evaluation, we develop a customized treatment strategy that may include advanced wound care and treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy to improve circulation in your feet.
Schedule an evaluation for diabetic foot care or any of the services we offer at Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic & Hyperbarics today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.