Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot produce or efficiently use the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Prolonged periods of high blood sugar levels can lead to damage in many parts of the body, including the feet, with common issues being ingrown nails and skin damage on the feet. Two main problems that occur in people with diabetes are Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Foot.
Individuals with diabetes must regularly visit a professional for proper skin and nail care. Diabetes poses an increased risk of foot (skin and nail) and lower extremity problems, as well as a heightened risk of complications. Conditions related to diabetes include neuropathy (loss of sensation in the foot), peripheral artery disorders (loss of blood flow), and reduced immune response.
As a result, individuals with diabetes can develop potentially serious foot problems, especially with their skin and nails. Due to this increased risk, anyone suffering from diabetes must undergo regular foot examinations.
Your podiatrist will assess and monitor the condition of your feet through vascular (blood vessel examination), neurological (nerve examination), dermatological (skin and nail examination of the feet), and biomechanical (movement and gait examination) assessments. Adequate treatment of nails and feet under strictly controlled hygiene conditions will remove any changes and prevent complications, as well as the occurrence of ulcers.
Avoid walking to prevent the onset of pain and ulcers. This is beneficial for all forms of diabetic foot problems because the pressure from walking can worsen infections and ulcer spread, as well as cause skin cracks on the heels. For people who are overweight, the additional pressure can lead to constant foot pain and can also trigger ingrown toenails.
To provide adequate care for your skin, nails, and feet, your podiatrist may recommend that you wear certain items to protect your feet:
- Diabetic shoes
- Compression bandages
- Shoe inserts
Podiatrists can treat diabetic feet through debridement, the removal of dead skin, foreign objects, or infections that can be potential ulcer triggers, ingrown toenails, and cracked heels.
Infection is a serious complication of foot ulcers and requires immediate treatment. Not all infections are treated the same way. The tissues surrounding the ulcer may be sent to the laboratory to determine which antibiotic will help. If your doctor suspects a serious infection, they may request an X-ray of the bones.
If there is an ingrown toenail problem, various procedures are performed to address it and prevent the development of necrosis and gangrene.
All of these procedures achieve proper skin, nail, and foot care for patients with diabetes.