Diabetic Foot Care

San Francisco Podiatrist - Diabetic Foot Care

The chronic symptoms of diabetes mellitus affect more than 24 million people, a quarter of whom are unaware of their condition. This disease affects the body’s ability to convert dietary nutrients into energy and is marked by the inability to produce and/or utilize insulin. This systemic disease impairs multiple body parts including the heart, eyes, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves and feet. Its affect on the feet ranges from minor discomfort to amputation. Foot symptoms of diabetes complications include numbness and tingling associated with poor blood flow, susceptibility to infection, swelling of the feet or ankles, changes in skin color, higher skin temperature, leg pain, slow-to-heal foot sores, dry cracking skin and bleeding calluses.

Since there is no cure for diabetes, treatment options are focused on preventing or managing symptoms. Early diagnosis and regular foot screenings are the keys to preventing foot amputation. Diabetics are very sensitive to skin ulcerations and wounds, and proper care of affected areas is vital. There are a number of prevention techniques that a diabetic person needs to consider. These include: daily washing and drying of the feet; use of foot creams and powders to protect the skin; careful inspection for sores and other maladies; maintenance of a healthy weight; wearing thick, soft socks; avoiding smoking (which causes circulation problems); avoiding alcohol (which causes nerve damage); proper toenail care to prevent ingrown nails; frequent exercise; supportive and nonrestrictive footwear; and regular visits to a podiatrist for foot evaluations. Diabetics should not attempt to remove corns or calluses without a doctor.