Experts suggest that around 10 per cent of people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer at some point. Closely linked with diabetes neuropathy, diabetic nerve pain and diabetes foot care, diabetic foot ulcers affect many people with diabetes.
Foot ulcers can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes influences foot ulcers in a number of ways, and it is important for people with diabetes to understand the potentially severe consequences of leaving a foot ulcer untreated.
Dabetic foot ulcer
Foot ulcers can occur in anyone, and refer to a patch of broken down skin usually on the lower leg or feet.
When blood sugar levels are high or fluctuate regularly skin that would normally heal may not properly repair itself because of nerve damage.
Even a mild injury can therefore start a foot ulcer.
People with diabetes more likely to get foot ulcers
People with diabetes may have reduced nerve functioning due to peripheral diabetic neuropathy.
This means that the nerves that usually carry pain sensation to the brain from the feet do not function as well and it is possible for damage to occur to your foot without feeling it. Treading on something, wearing tight shoes, cuts, blisters and bruises can all develop into diabetes foot ulcers.
Narrowed arteries can also reduce blood flow to the feet amongst some people with diabetes and this can impair the foot’s ability to heal properly. When the foot cannot heal, a foot ulcer can develop.
Risk factors for diabetes foot ulcers
The following can increase the likelihood of developing a foot ulcer:
- Poor blood circulation
- Insufficiently well controlled diabetes
- Wearing poor fitting footwear
- Walking barefoot
People who have diabetes for a longer period or manage their diabetes less effectively are more likely to develop foot ulcers. Smoking, not taking exercise, being overweight, having high cholesterol or blood pressure can all increase diabetes foot ulcer risk.
How serious are foot ulcers
Unfortunately, for some people with diabetes, the end result of a foot ulcer can be amputation. Less serious foot ulcers can still take a long time to heal and be very uncomfortable during this time.
Avoiding diabetes foot ulcers
Avoiding diabetes foot ulcers is a matter of taking good care of the feet.
Furthermore, people with diabetes should have their feet checked at least once a year by a doctor or healthcare professional. Recognising symptoms such as reduced feeling and acting on them immediately should help to avoid diabetes foot ulcers.
Diabetes and Foot Care
Maintaining good foot care is essential Maintaining good foot care is essential Buy foot care products Foot care amongst diabetics is incredibly important as foot related complications are common for those of us with diabetes.
Foot ulcers for example, which affect as many as 1 out of 10 people with diabetes, can all to easily develop from blisters and small wounds to posing a threat of amputation.
Even small ulcers on the foot can represent a serious risk: they may heal extremely slowly and need rigorous treatment to cure.
Ulcers can develop into serious lower body infections, with the possibility of amputation at an advanced stage.
Caring for your feet Caring for your feet as a diabetic should not be difficult, and should be a prime consideration.
This section details complications that may affect the diabetic foot, and some methods and information about care.
Why is foot care important? The presence of high blood glucose levels over a long period of time may result in a condition called diabetic neuropathy (damage to the nerves) or loss of circulation in the extremities of the body.
If the nerves in your feet or legs are damaged, your feet can lose sensation and become numb.
It is relatively common for people with diabetes to not feel foot problems until they have developed, therefore it is key to ensure you have regular foot examinations.
Diabetic foot complications include:
- Foot ulcers - open wounds on the foot
- Charcot foot - deformation of the foot
- Caring for your feet
- Foot care involves reducing damage from occurring to your feet and regularly checking your feet for any signs of damage.
Damage to your feet can be reduced by avoiding walking barefoot, wearing correctly fitting footwear and keeping your feet clean and in good condition. Check your feet every day for any signs of damage.
Checking your feet
You should regularly examine your own feet for signs of damage. This is all the more important if you are suffering from poor circulation and numbness. If you have trouble checking your own feet, you may need to ask someone to help you check them.
Look out for any of the following signs of foot damage:
- Changes in colour
- Hard skin
Also be aware of any cracking from dry skin as this could develop into an ulcer over time.
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