Discover the telltale signs of a foot infection and what you can do to prevent diabeticÂrelated foot problems.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you likely know all too well there is a significant chance you may deal with a foot complication. While foot problems for healthy individuals often go away on their own, when you have diabetes maintaining good foot health is vitally important. Since diabetics are at an increased risk for lower limb amputation, it’s important to check your feet everyday for signs of infection. Here are some common foot problems you may face:
Athlete’s foot: This fungal infection is characterized by itching, cracked, and red skin on the foot. While there are some overÂtheÂcounter treatments, if you have diabetes and are currently dealing with Athlete’s foot, we recommend talking to your podiatrist first. Your podiatrist may prescribe a stronger antifungal pill or cream to fight the infection.
Fungal nail infection: If you are suffering from brittle, discolored nails that are fragile and tend to crumble, then you may have a fungal infection. These nail infections are more difficult to treat, so talk to your podiatrist about whether oral medication or laser treatment is recommended.
Calluses/Corns: These are both the result of hard skin build up, with calluses developing on the bottoms of feet and corns developing on or between toes. These may develop from wearing shoes that rub against your skin. Sometimes using a corn pad can help cushion and protect the callus or corn from further damage while also promoting faster healing. However, talk to your podiatrist about certain medications that can help soften this condition.
Blisters: Just as friction from rubbing shoes can cause calluses and corns, they can also cause painful blisters. These blisters can become infected, and it’s important to leave blisters alone and not to pop them. Use an antibacterial gel or cream to help prevent infection and to protect the damaged skin.
Ulcers: These deep sores in the skin can easily become infected if not cared for properly. Poorly fitted shoes and even minor scrapes can cause ulcers to form. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your outcome. Talk to your podiatrist about the best treatment options for diabeticÂrelated foot ulcers.
Ingrown toenails: An ingrown toenail is when the edge of the nail grows or cuts into the skin, causing pain, swelling, and irritation. If you trim your toenails too short, or you crowd your toes into tight shoes, you are more likely to develop this problem.
How do you prevent these foot problems in those with diabetes?
The best thing you can do is seek medical attention and treatment for your diabetes. If your condition is under control, then you’re less likely to deal with these complications. Be sure to also practice good hygiene when it comes to cleaning and drying off your feet. Also, examine your feet each day to check for any changes or problems that may need additional care. Always trim toenails straight across and do not round the nail; doing this will prevent ingrown toenails.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it’s time to see your podiatrist right away for treatment. The sooner you seek treatment the better the prognosis. Don’t put off your foot health.