Do You Have These Symptoms of Diabetic Foot Neuropathy?
Did you know that around 20 percent of people with diabetes have serious foot problems that require hospitalization? Unfortunately, diabetic foot neuropathy is all too common. That’s because one side effect of diabetes is reduced blood flow to the feet, as well as numbness or tingling, which can make it hard for you to notice that there are problems in your feet.
For this reason, if you’re diabetic, it’s absolutely essential to your overall health for you to take excellent care of your feet. Untreated foot problems resulting from diabetes can cause serious health issues. In the worst-case scenario, some diabetics have had to face lifesaving foot amputations because of foot problems that became serious quickly.
Be aware of these key warning signs of diabetic foot neuropathy:
- A “pins and needles” sensation in your feet, or any kind of ongoing pain or numbness
- Wounds or sores on the feet, especially ones that don’t seem to heal
- Cracked skin between your toes
- Dark or black areas of skin on or around your feet
- Swelling or redness of the feet
- Hammer toes, bunions, or ingrown toenails
You can also help to prevent serious side effects of diabetic foot neuropathy by taking the following precautions in caring for your feet.
First, make foot care a daily part of your hygiene routine. Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry your feet every day to prevent fungus and bacteria growth. Follow this with a lotion to prevent your skin from drying and cracking, but don’t use lotion between your toes, where it will act as a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep your toenails trimmed straight across and filed, but don’t trim them too short.
Next, every day take a good look at your feet to check for any swelling, blisters, or sores. Make sure to look at the soles of your feet, not just the tops. If it’s hard to see the bottom of your foot, ask for help or use a mirror. When you bathe, avoid putting your feet in very hot water. Check the water temperature with your elbow before you get into the bathtub.
You can also help to prevent diabetic foot neuropathy damage by always wearing socks and shoes throughout the day, even when you’re in your own home. This helps to avoid accidental damage to your feet by stepping or tripping on something, or stubbing a toe. You might not notice an injury right away until it has caused an infection or other serious problems. You should be wearing specially designed shoes to support diabetic foot neuropathy.
And remember that the best way to avoid problems with diabetic foot neuropathy is to effectively manage your diabetes as a whole. Regular appropriate exercise, blood sugar monitoring, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet are keys to diabetes management that will improve your issues with diabetic foot neuropathy.
For more about how to treat foot neuropathy at home safely, take a look at our Home Care page.