The elevated blood sugar levels that accompany uncontrolled diabetes can damage tissue throughout your body. Particularly at risk are your feet, since they’re the furthest point from your heart. Even non-diabetics have foot and leg issues because of this distance, so you’re doubly at risk if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Adding a podiatrist to your diabetes management team is important, and that means Errol Gindi, DPM if you live in the Valley Stream or Hicksville area. Dr. Gindi is a diabetic foot care specialist. He and his team can give your feet the extra care they need to ward off the effects of your condition. Here’s what you need to know.
The effects of diabetes
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that about 50% of diabetic patients have some degree of neuropathy or nerve damage. While this can happen anywhere in your body, the feet and legs tend to be affected the most.
The symptoms of neuropathy can be confusing and contradictory. Sometimes, patients sense tingling or pain while others feel numbness even under direct stimulation, as though they’re wearing a thick pair of socks.
While the latter condition sounds benign, this lack of sensation puts you at risk of foot ulcers or slow-healing wounds, of which you’re unaware. These are aggravated by poor blood flow, called peripheral vascular disease. High blood sugar damages blood vessels in your feet, so the level of circulation needed for prompt healing is absent.
This combination of effects means that otherwise minor injuries could develop into major problems that, in the worst cases, lead to amputation. Even minor foot conditions, like corns, calluses, or ingrown nails can become serious with the damaging effects of diabetes.
Caring for diabetic feet
The most important step to take for minimizing the effects of diabetes is controlling your blood sugar levels. This slows the progression of both nerve and blood vessel deterioration. It often requires a balance of medication, diet, and exercise, but the effort is worth it. Here are a few foot care tips:
Take a few seconds every day to examine all surfaces of your feet for cuts, sores, or other injuries. Use a mirror to examine the bottoms and feel the skin in hard-to-view places.
Wash your feet
Using warm water and mild soap, wash your feet frequently. Make sure to dry them well, particularly between the toes. Combine a wash with your daily inspection for a healthy routine.
Moisturize dry skin
Focus on dry spots rather than moisturizing all surfaces, and don’t moisturize between your toes. Ask Dr. Gindi for suggestions for foot-friendly moisturizers.
Choose proper footwear
Prioritize comfort. Breathable materials like leather and canvas are best. Choose wide shoes with plenty of toe room. Check your shoes for foreign objects before putting them on.
You may also benefit from avoiding open-toed footwear, and compression socks can help blood circulation. Discuss all aspects of your foot health concerns when you contact Errol Gindi, DPM by phone or online, and the most convenient location. With care, your feet can be one less worry, so book an appointment today.