A patient may seek care from a podiatrist when painful conditions of the feet or ankles cause difficulty with daily activities. Podiatry is a specialty of medicine that focuses on the feet and surrounding structures and how they interact with the rest of the body. These doctors use a number of resources to diagnose conditions…
What Are Diabetic Foot Infections?
Diabetic foot infections are one of the many things people who are dealing with diabetes have to worry about. People with diabetes have difficulty regulating their sugar levels and it can lead to a variety of serious issues including problems with their feet.
How diabetic foot infections occur
There are two main ways diabetes can affect a person's feet:
1. Diabetic neuropathy
Failing to properly manage diabetes can lead to nerve damage. When the nerves in the feet and legs are damaged, the person may lose their ability to feel pain, cold or heat. This loss of sensation is known as sensory diabetic neuropathy.
When a person who has lost sensation of their foot gets a cut there, it might go unnoticed. The cut may worsen and eventually lead to a diabetic foot infection if it is not treated. Diabetes can also lead to the muscles in the foot not working properly, which can then lead to the foot becoming improperly aligned and developing ulcers.
2. Peripheral vascular disease
Diabetes also limits a person's blood circulation. With blood not flowing around properly, sores take much longer to heal. The poor circulation affects the legs and arms. This increases the odds of a cut turning into an infection, and it also makes it harder to fight off infections .
Preventing diabetic foot infections
Taking good care of the feet goes a long way when a person has diabetes. People with diabetes can reduce their odds of developing a foot infection by:
Living a healthy lifestyle
Staying on top of their blood sugar as recommended by a doctor is very important. Diabetics who smoke cigarettes should strongly consider quitting smoking.
Choosing proper foot attire
Avoid wearing sandals or walking barefoot and opt for wearing closed-toe slippers or shoes, instead. Wearing socks and shoes that fit properly goes a long way. It is also good to remember to inspect the insides of shoes before wearing them, as there might be something hard or sharp inside which could harm the foot.
Practicing careful foot care
Wash feet with warm, soapy water each day. Avoid soaking them in the water while washing them, and dry them thoroughly afterward. When moisturizing, avoid getting lotion between the toes.
Smooth out calluses and corns often using a pumice stone or emery board, and trim toenails once a week. Remember to cut straight across without rounding off the sides, in order to avoid ingrown toenails.
Try to keep the feet up while sitting, and avoid crossing your legs for extended periods to allow for proper circulation.
Dealing with a diabetic foot infection?
There is no such thing as a minor foot problem when a person has diabetes. Any cut or sore that does not heal quickly needs to be examined by a doctor. People with diabetes should be evaluated once a year and the sensation in their feet assessed regularly.
If the doctor detects an infection, antibiotics are typically administered. The patient will also be monitored to ensure the infection does not reemerge. Stop by our Pocatello clinic for diagnosis and treatment. Do not let it progress into something more serious.
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