If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, then you have elevated blood sugar. While well-managed diabetes rarely leads to long-term or serious consequences, poorly-managed or very high blood glucose can heighten your risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, and even disorders of the feet. Here are three ways high blood glucose can affect your feet and what you can do about them:
If you have diabetes, you may be at risk for developing foot infections. It is for this reason that you should make appointments with your foot and ankle specialist on a regular basis to cut your toenails and check the condition of your feet and ankles.
If you cut your own toenails and accidentally nip your skin, a serious infection can develop. If you want to clip your own toenails in-between podiatry visits, make sure you do not cut them too short because this can raise the risk for skin damage. If you nip your skin, monitor the area for redness, excessive bleeding, drainage, or severe pain, and if present, make an appointment with your podiatric physician.
High blood glucose levels can also predispose you to skin ulcers of the foot and ankle. Diabetes can lead to impaired circulation, and when circulation and blood flow is poor, wounds known as statis or decubitus ulcers can develop on your lower extremities.
If you notice any areas of redness, rawness, broken skin, or ulceration, see your foot doctor as soon as possible. If skin ulcers are left untreated, underlying muscle tissue and bone can be damaged. Avoid wearing tight shoes or high heels, as these can impair circulation and lead to friction on skin.
Increasing your dietary intake of vitamin C and protein can help promote healing of skin ulcers, and may also improve your circulation. Do not incorporate too much protein into your diet, however, without approval from your physician.
Inability To Feel Pain
Long-standing or poorly managed diabetes can also lead to numbness and tingling sensations of the feet. Some diabetics even lose sensation in their feet, which can raise the risk for injury. If your feet are numb, never walk barefoot because you may step on a sharp object and not realize that you have hurt the sole of your foot.
Keeping tight control over your blood glucose levels can help improve your circulation, as can gentle massage and wearing medical-grade compression stockings. Certain B vitamins such as B6 may help improve your circulation and alleviate numbness and tingling in your feet, however, check with your doctor before starting a new regimen of dietary supplementation.
If you have diabetes and develop any of the above conditions, see your foot and ankle specialist as soon as possible. The quicker your diabetes-related foot problems are recognized and addressed, the less likely you will be to experience any long-term problems with infections, impaired circulation, and numbness. Check out sites like http://www.elmhurstpodiatry.com for more information.