Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by an inability of the pancreas to create enough of the hormone insulin, or the inability of the body to use the insulin the pancreas does create. Levels of sugar in the blood can get quite elevated because of the lack of insulin.
So what does all this have to do with your feet? Well, diabetes is directly related to problems with your feet because of how high blood sugar can attack your peripheral nerves (the nerves located outside of your central nervous system - your brain and spinal cord). Peripheral nerves far from your central nervous system, such as those in your feet, can sustain damage that makes many people with diabetes lose feeling in their feet.
Not only that, but high blood sugar can also damage your blood vessels, especially the ones that lead to the feet. Damaged blood vessels mean blood can’t easily flow through them. So blood often has a hard time getting to the diabetic foot.
Because of these two effects - peripheral nerve damage and blood vessel damage - it’s essential that diabetics take very good care of their feet. At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center, we recommend the following 6 essential tasks to care for diabetic feet.
1. Inspect them. In fact, our podiatrists recommend that you inspect your feet twice every day. What are you looking for? Any sort of cut, scrape, bruise, blister, crack, or redness. You should also feel your feet for changes in temperature - do they feel unusually hot or cold, perhaps just in one spot?
2. Keep them clean.
3. Dry them thoroughly, remembering the wet spots in between your toes.
4. Consider the humble sock. If too tight, they could cause unnecessary friction. The wrong material could cause excessive sweating.
5. Be mindful of shoes and how they fit. They shouldn’t be causing any friction anywhere.
6. Move it. Regular exercise improves circulation and also helps you maintain a healthy weight, keeping your diabetes under control.
If you’re an individual with diabetes living in Monmouth County, make an appointment with our board-certified podiatrists - Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, and Dr. Joseph Saka - to have your feet professionally inspected at least once a year. If you have foot pain or find a problem during your daily inspections, give us a call ASAP at our office in Howell, NJ at (732) 905-1110.