Diabetic foot is a serious complication of diabetes. What does it consist of and what symptoms does it produce? It is vital to watch your feet for any warning signs, however faint or small.
Diabetic foot is a complication or clinical alteration that causes the appearance of ulcers and is suffered by diabetic people. When blood sugar levels are too high over time, nerves or blood vessels can be damaged.
It occurs as a result of two causes. On the one hand, the occlusion of the arteries of the foot. On the other hand, the alteration of the nerves. This second cause is the one that reduces sensitivity and makes the person not notice even the slightest friction, which is known as diabeticneuropathy.
This damage that occurs in the nerves means that the diabetic person does not realize it as they have no sensitivity to scratches, cuts, sores or blisters. As a result, ulcers and infections can appear.
In the first of the causes, the occlusion of the peripheral arteries of the foot causes the oxygen in the tissues to decrease, making the foot more vulnerable to any type of trauma, both in the heel area and in other areas.
The main symptoms of diabetic foot
The symptoms of diabetic foot are the appearance of ulcers as a result of friction or trauma, they are difficult to heal and can become infected. This is one of the most serious signs, but not the only one.
It is also common for other related and more or less obvious signs to appear, such as the case of the presence of tingling and cramps, as well as the absence of sensitivity.
When diabetes affects the feet due to the deterioration of the nervous system, the nerves are damaged, which causes a loss of sensation in the feet?
That is why, when a cut or graze occurs on the feet, they usually go unnoticed, giving rise to problems that can cause new pressure points in which blisters, ulcers or chafing form.
Due to poor blood circulation, injuries heal more slowly.
Within the group of diabetics, some groups are more vulnerable or prone to diabetic foot complications, such as diabetics having some foot deformity such as bunions, joint problems, claw toes, and people with obesity, sedentary, smokers.
To avoid suffering from diabetic foot, it is extremely important to control blood sugar levels, not neglect yourself, go to frequent check-ups and also take care of foot hygiene.
In frequent controls, the possible beginning of both a nerve alteration and a loss of sensitivity are detected.
In these controls, the nurse will apply pressure to different areas of the foot to find out if the patient feels it or not.
In addition to exerting pressure, you will also observe thermal sensitivity by applying heat and cold, vibration sensitivity, and reflexes.
To detect if there is alteration of the arteries of the foot, the nurse will make an exploration of the pulses of the area, of the ankle-arm, for this he will use the cuff to measure blood pressure and a Doppler ultrasound with which he will explore the circulation arterial.
Once the symptoms that warn of the appearance of diabetic foot, such as ulcers, have appeared, you must go to the doctor without delay to start treatment and heal the ulcers as soon as possible to avoid infections.
These cures are performed by the nursing staff, although there are situations in which the presence of the vascular surgeon is necessary for their control.
How to take care of feet with diabetes:
When you have diabetes, it is very important to take care of your feet, monitoring the presence of bruises, painful areas, wounds, fever, cuts or nail problems, among others.
It is highly recommended to wash your feet with warm water and mild soap, use a good quality moisturizer, and cut your nails straight across.
Tips to avoid diabetic foot as much as possible
There are some useful tips that will help you avoid, if possible, diabetic foot, especially if you currently suffer from diabetes. They are the following:
- Control blood sugar levels, do not neglect.
- Check feet every day.
- Wash your feet every day with a soft and neutral gel.
- Do not use hot water, use lukewarm water between 35º and 37ºC.
- Do not have your feet soak for more than 5 minutes.
- Dry your feet well with a soft towel, without rubbing.
- Dry well between fingers.
- Go to the podiatrist when cutting nails or filing calluses.
- Prevent nails from digging into the sides of the fingers.
- File nails carefully and straight.
- Do not use nail clippers or scissors, file the nails very carefully.
- Wear cotton stocks that have no seams.
- Wear soft, well-fitting shoes.
- Protect feet from both heat and cold.
- Go to the controls.
- Go without delay in case of any anomaly in the feet.
- Walk daily, at least 30 minutes.