(The following is a guest post by Dr Anuj Chawla)
Diabetes is a health problem that can affect several body parts, one by one. One in six people with diabetes resides in India with an estimated number of 77 million and the number is projected to rise to 125 million by 2040. It has been observed that 10-15% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point in time. A survey done in 2014 revealed that only 54% of diabetics in India were aware that diabetes could lead to foot problems and only 22% had their feet examined by a health worker or doctor.
Do you know that it can affect your feet too? If you have a minor cut on your feet, it can turn into a significant wound because diabetes impairs wound healing in your body. Also, you may not be able to feel anything in your feet because of nerve damage. Because of diabetes, blood flow to your feet is obstructed as well. This will cause a small wound to amplify into a stubborn infection, due to which you face the risk of amputation.
In case you suffer from diabetes, you need to take precautions to protect your feet and hence avoid any serious foot problems. Guidelines you need to follow to avoid Diabetic foot problem are as follows:
- Soaking your feet in lukewarm water: You must always keep your foot clean. Treat your foot like you will take care of a newborn baby. Use lukewarm water to soak in your foot and clean them. Avoid excessively hot water.
- Regular inspection of your feet: You need to check your feet regularly for blisters, cuts, swelling, redness, or nail problems. You can use a magnifying hand mirror to check the bottom of your feet. Do seek help from your doctor if you notice something suspicious.
- Be gentle with your feet while cleaning it: Use a soft sponge and washcloth to wipe your feet. Dry your feet by gently patting it, especially between the toes.
- Trimming nails carefully: You need to cut your nails straight across. Also, do not forget to file the edges of your nails. Don’t trim your nails too short as it risks the development of ingrown toenails. If you are worried about your toenails, then you can seek the advice of your foot and ankle specialist.
- Moisturizing your feet but not between the toes: Always use a moisturizer to prevent itching and cracking of your dry skin. But you must always keep in mind that the place between your toes should not be moisturized as this may risk the development of a fungal infection.
- Proper treatment of the corns or calluses: If there are corns and calluses, then you should not try to treat them all by yourself. You must visit your doctor to get rid of them.
- Getting your foot examined periodically: This is one of the essential guidelines that you need to follow if you want to avoid Diabetic foot problems. You must get your feet regularly examined from your foot and ankle expert.
- Keeping your diabetes under control: It is always necessary to keep a check on your blood sugar level to prevent Diabetic foot problems.
- Quit smoking: Smoking will accentuate the worsening of blood flow in your feet. Hence if you are a diabetic person and also have a habit of smoking, then it is high time that you quit smoking forever.
- Wearing slippers or shoes while walking: You cannot afford to walk barefoot even at your home. You must wear a sandal or boots to avoid any cut or injury at your feet.
- Inspect inside of the shoe before wearing: Always shake and feel for the inside of the shoe to look for any pebbles or nail inside as you may not feel it when you wear it.
- Exercise: Walking helps in controlling weight and improves circulation. Wear properly measured and fitted shoes as the size and shape of your foot may change with time.
In India, barefoot walking, lack of awareness, the paucity of regular proper exercise, delay in seeking appropriate care, and shortage of trained healthcare providers and foot care services are the principal factors that add to the burden of foot disease in diabetes. Hence, prevention and initial management of diabetic foot are of paramount importance. Please visit the nearest foot and ankle expert to learn more and avoid any future complications.
Dr. Anuj Chawla is one of the leading Orthopedics and foot & ankle surgeons in India. He has extensive overseas experience of managing diabetic foot and its complications. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a consultation with Dr. Anuj, book an appointment by visiting the website: http://dranujchawla.com/