There are several types of foot problems that more often occur in people with diabetes. With more knowledge about what to look for when monitoring your feet, it will be easier for you or your caregiver to spot changes.
In diabetics, the toenails are more likely to change in thickness and also become brittle. If you are not routinely clipping your toenails, the longer they grow, the harder they will become to trim. When nails become harder to trim, it increases the chances of injuring yourself during trimming. Another change you may notice is the development of pincher nails. As their name implies, they begin pinching the toe because the nail no longer grows straight out, but curves inward on each side. These nails can be especially painful, making them impossible to treat on your own. Your podiatrist will want you to come in regularly to have your nails trimmed. Thicker nails can be filed down so they are thinner.
Skin ulceration is a major problem in diabetics, because it can occur without knowing when you have poor sensation in your feet. Any area of pressure or friction can become ulcerated, such as areas where you have a callus. Your podiatrist will want to regularly remove the thickened skin off your calluses, which can make it easier to walk and so they can determine if the skin underneath has begun to ulcerate. Another area of concern is compression socks. These garments are often worn to reduce swelling in the lower extremities, but the compression may also lead to ulceration. Only wearing prescribed compression socks will help, because your podiatrist can recommend the right size and amount of compression for your needs without causing abrasions.
Infection And Gangrene
Infections can happen and escalate quickly in diabetics, even from relatively benign problems, such as an ingrown toenail or stepping on a sharp object. Any foot injuries should be addressed promptly to minimize the chance of infection even if the injury does not seem painful. Remember, neuropathy can lower sensation in your feet, so not feeling pain does not mean the problem is not serious. Gangrene occurs when the tissue becomes necrotic and can be surprisingly advanced without significant pain when people have neuropathy. Dry gangrene is more commonly seen in diabetics. With dry gangrene, the tissue is not infected, but has lost its blood supply and begun to decay. In contrast, wet gangrene is necrotic tissue with an active infection. Due to the presence of infection in wet gangrene, the situation is more serious than dry gangrene.
Knowing which foot issues are more commonly seen in diabetics can help you take steps to protect your feet. Daily foot checks are necessary to detect problems even if you cannot feel them. For more information, contact a local diabetic foot care specialist.Share