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DIABETIC FOOT MANAGEMENT

Impact of Diabetes on Foot Health

Diabetes contributes to two primary foot-related concerns:

Diabetic Neuropathy

Uncontrolled diabetes can damage nerves, leading to sensory diabetic neuropathy. This condition reduces sensations of heat, cold, or pain in the legs and feet. Consequently, individuals may not feel cuts or sores, allowing these injuries to worsen and become infected. Moreover, nerve damage can affect muscle function, causing improper foot alignment and increased pressure on specific areas.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Diabetes affects blood flow, slowing down the healing process for sores or cuts. This condition, termed peripheral vascular disease, impedes efficient blood circulation, elevating the risk of ulcers or gangrene due to unresolved infections.

Common Foot Problems Associated with Diabetes

While anyone can encounter the foot problems listed below, individuals with diabetes face an increased risk. For those with diabetes, these issues may lead to infections and severe complications like amputation.

Athlete’s Foot: Fungal infection causing itching, redness, and cracking. Medications are available in pills or creams for treatment.

Fungal Nail Infections: Infected nails may change color, become thick, or crumble. Severe cases may necessitate oral prescription medications or nail removal.

Calluses: Buildup of hard skin, usually due to uneven weight distribution. Proper care involves gentle removal after bathing and using cushioned pads or medications.

Corns: Hardened skin near bony areas of toes, typically caused by shoe pressure. Addressing corns includes careful removal after bathing, avoiding over-the-counter remedies, and not cutting them.

Blisters: Resulting from shoe friction, untreated blisters can lead to infections. Protect them using antibacterial creams and soft bandages, avoiding “popping” them.

Bunions: A bony protrusion forming due to the big toe bending toward the second toe. Treatments involve protective padding and devices to separate toes, with surgery as an option for severe cases.

Dry Skin: Skin dehydration leading to cracks, making it susceptible to infections. Moisturizing soaps and lotions help maintain skin health.

Diabetic Ulcers: Deep sores or breaks in the skin often slow to heal and prone to infections. Immediate attention is crucial to prevent complications.

Hammertoes: Toe deformity caused by muscle weakness or tight shoes. Splints and corrective shoes may help, and surgery might be necessary in severe cases.

Ingrown Toenails: Nail edges growing into the skin, causing discomfort and potential infection. Proper nail care and, if necessary, surgical intervention can resolve this issue.

Plantar Warts: Wart-like growths on the foot sole due to a viral infection. Professional medical attention is advisable for diagnosis and treatment.

This revised version provides a concise overview of how diabetes can affect foot health and the various related issues individuals might encounter, especially when managing diabetes.