Diabetic Foot Care: How to Prevent and Treat Foot Pain

Living with diabetes brings its own challenges; among them, foot care stands out as a crucial aspect of overall health. 

Diabetic foot problems are a complication of diabetes. Nerve damage and poor circulation are two conditions often linked to diabetes that may necessitate medical intervention for effective management.

In this blog, we will explore the why and how behind foot pain in diabetes, offering valuable insights into prevention strategies and effective treatments.

diabetic foot care

How Does Diabetes Affect Foot Health?

Elevated blood glucose levels in diabetes can harm nerves and blood vessels, particularly in the long and delicate foot structures. 

This damage gives rise to two interconnected issues, commonly causing diabetic leg pain and foot complications. Nerve damage leads to numbness and tingling, while impaired blood circulation slows healing and increases infection risks. 

These complications underscore the importance of vigilant diabetic foot care to mitigate pain and ensure overall foot well-being.

What are the Types of Diabetic Foot?

Diabetes can lead to various foot conditions, including:

  • Peripheral Neuropathy: 

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition marked by nerve damage outside the brain and spinal cord. When it affects the feet and legs, it manifests as pain, numbness, and issues related to balance and foot stability. 

It is a common complication of diabetes and can contribute to other diabetic foot problems.

  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): 

PAD occurs when damage to blood vessel walls results in the stiffening and narrowing of blood vessels. This diminishes blood flow to the feet, giving rise to various complications, including:

  • Breakdown of the skin, making it more prone to damage and infection
  • Slower healing of injuries and greater risk of infection, ulcers, and gangrene

What are the Symptoms of Diabetic Foot?

Diabetic foot symptoms can vary, and individuals may experience a combination of the following:

  • Irritation, swelling, odours, and redness that are unusual
  • Ulcers: Foot drainage in any shape or form
  • Numbness or pain in a specific area
  • Formation of black tissue around the ulcer
  • Toe infection
  • Changes in the skin
  • Open wounds take longer to heal
  • Persistent odour
  • Ingrown nail
  • Dry cracks in the heel

Regularly monitoring feet for any changes is vital for individuals with diabetes. If any concerning symptoms are noticed, seeking medical attention is crucial.

What are Some Risks if I Don't Get Treatment?

If you have diabetes and do not seek timely and appropriate treatment for diabetic foot complications, there are several serious risks and potential consequences. 

Some of these risks include:

  • Dry, cracked skin: While dryness doesn’t feel too bad, it can increase infection risk, delayed healing, discomfort, and pain.
  • Calluses: Neglected calluses can become areas of high pressure, potentially leading to skin breakdown, ulcers, and an increased risk of infection.
  • Ulcers: Without proper treatment, ulcers can worsen, deepen, and become infected, potentially leading to severe complications, including tissue damage, cellulitis, or even the need for amputation.
  • Amputations: In extreme cases, uncontrolled infections, gangrene, or other complications may necessitate amputation of toes, feet, or even legs.

What Can I Do to Manage Diabetic Foot Pain?

Managing diabetic foot pain involves a combination of self-care practices and medical interventions. Here are some strategies to help manage diabetic foot pain:

  • Examine your feet daily for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail issues.
  • Bathe your feet in lukewarm water daily to maintain cleanliness. Use a soft washcloth gently, pat dry, and be cautious when drying, particularly between your toes.
  • Opt for clean, dry socks and change them daily. If you experience excessive sweating, consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet.
  • Apply moisturiser to your feet daily to prevent dry skin from itching or cracking. Don’t moisturise between the toes to reduce the risk of a fungal infection.
  • Opt for diabetic socks with additional cushioning for added comfort.
  • Shake out your shoes and check the inside before wearing them, as you may not have the sensation to detect small objects like pebbles.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, both indoors and outdoors. Always wear footwear to protect your feet.
  • A healthy diet and exercise help keep blood glucose levels within range and can improve blood flow to prevent diabetic foot disease from worsening. 
  • Stopping smoking helps to improve blood flow to your feet and lowers your risk of complications. 
  • Seeing an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon to help prevent foot complications from diabetes.

Get Your Diabetic Foot Treatment with Dr Ehab Kheir.

Caring for our feet is essential for overall health, particularly for individuals with diabetes. Dr Ehab Kheir’s expertise and tips on diabetic foot treatment have shown us how proper care can prevent serious complications like infections and amputations. 

By combining regular foot examinations, diligent hygiene practices, and the meticulous management of blood sugar levels, patients can significantly mitigate the risks associated with diabetes-related foot complications.

Book your appointment today.