According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Nearly 90 million more people have prediabetes. If you have diabetes, you know that the excess sugar in your blood makes you susceptible to several complications.
One of those serious concerns for diabetics is the development of foot problems. That’s why our team of doctors at Harbor Community Health Centers in San Pedro, California partners with you to make sure you have a local podiatrist on your care team. In this blog, we outline some of the most common diabetes-related foot complications and what you can do to avoid them.
Common diabetes-related foot problems
When you have chronically elevated blood sugar levels, you can develop the following serious problems with your feet:
Nearly half of all people with diabetes develop problems with their nerves. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, pain, and loss of sensation in your legs and feet. With a reduced ability to feel, you may not notice if you develop a callus, sore, or cut. About 15% of people with diabetes get an open sore or ulcer. Often, those ulcers get infected and require hospitalization. Sadly, a large percentage of patients with ulcers require amputation to prevent the spread of infection to the rest of their bodies.
Peripheral vascular disease
High blood glucose reduces your blood flow and causes problems with your circulation. The symptoms of the disorder include cramping in your legs, burning toes and feet, weak pulse, blue-colored skin, slow or non-healing ulcers.
Helping you manage your diabetes
As primary care providers, we’ll help you manage your diabetes by:
- Educating you about the disease
- Teaching you how to check your blood sugar levels regularly
- Prescribing medications
- Encouraging you to eat low carbohydrate meals and snacks
- Customizing your exercise program
Ensuring your feet get special care
Because of the high risk for developing an ulcer, infection, and gangrene, we recommend that you:
- Partner with a podiatrist who you see regularly
- Wear diabetic shoes
- Refrain from going barefoot
- Keep your feet clean and dry at all times
- Trim your toenails evenly and straight across
- Avoid getting your feet extremely hot or extremely cold
- Elevate your feet when you’re sitting to optimize your circulation
To learn more about the importance of safeguarding your foot health when you have diabetes, call the office nearest to you in San Pedro, California, or request an appointment online.