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Diabetic Foot : Symptoms and Treatment

One of the most common complications that someone with diabetes can experience is diabetic foot. The term diabetic foot is used to describe the changes that occur in the foot,from the ankle to toes, due to diabetes. The main causes of a diabetic foot are diabetic neuropathy and peripheral arteriopathy. Did you know that almost 70% of diabetic patients suffer from nervous system problems? According to the Cleveland Clinic, the chance that a person with diabetes will develop diabetic foot at some point in their life is about 15%. However, it is a preventable condition by taking frequent foot care and arranging visits to the doctor for a check-up.

Diabetic Foot Symptoms

Intense dryness and skin complications. In this case, the skin of the foot becomes so dry that it cracks open and the skin peels off. This happens because of the destruction of the nerves of the sweat glands, i.e. the body's ability to control the level of moisture in the feet. This symptom is one of the main symptoms of a diabetic foot.

  • Lack of sensation in the legs (cold, heat, absence of pain).
  • Numbness in the toes.
  • Skin discoloration and redness.
  • Burning or pain in the legs that worsens at night.
  • Blisters and calluses. Blisters and calluses can develop into ulcers if not treated promptly.
  • Pain when walking. This symptom indicates peripheral arterial.disease.
  • Athlete's foot. It’s a fungal infection that causes dry, cracked skin and should be treated immediately. Otherwise, it makes you more vulnerable to serious complications like leg ulcers.
  • Hair loss on the toes or legs.
  • Deformation of the toes and sole of the foot.

Diabetic ulcers are painful wounds that do not close, and their healing becomes quite difficult. If you have a diabetic ulcer that does not improve with treatment, you may need amputation, which is the amputation of the damaged toe or part of your foot. Mutilation prevents the spread of infection and can save your life. For this reason it is important to take preventive measures in order to avoid major complications that can occur in a diabetic foot.

Diabetic Foot and Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes causes diseases that affect and cause changes in the feet. One of the conditions that diabetes can cause and lead to diabetic foot is peripheral diabetic neuropathy. Uncontrolled diabetes can damage the nervous system over time and cause diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which affects the legs.

Any alteration or damage to the nerve fibers can lead to a loss of sensitivity to pain, especially in the feet, increasing the risk of injuries and infections that go unnoticed and can lead to serious damage. If the damage to the nerve fibers is more severe, the balance of the muscles may also change and the shape of the foot may be distorted. This could cause the foot to rest on a smaller surface and therefore put more pressure on certain areas.

Diabetes can also affect the blood vessels, causing their narrowing or even blockage (peripheral vasculopathy). When there is restricted blood circulation in the feet, it takes longer for a diabetic foot wound to heal. If you have an infection that won't heal due to limited blood flow to the feet, you're at risk of developing a diabetic ulcer or even gangrene if it's not treated right away.

Diabetic neuropathy and peripheral arteriopathy disease make wound healing particularly difficult in a diabetic foot. Thus diabetic ulcer healing is challenging and troublesome for many diabetic patients. Prontosan Wound Irrigation Solution with 0.1% Polyexanide accelerates the healing of chronic ulcers by removing the biofilm that prevents the wound from healing.

How Can I Prevent Diabetic Foot?

"According to the World Health Organization, diabetes can be treated and its consequences, such as diabetic foot, avoided or delayed with a proper healthy diet, regular physical exercise, avoiding smoking and with regular check-ups and treatment for any complications.

It is understood that the prevention, but also the treatment of the diabetic foot, is a primary concern for the diabetic patient, since the rates of amputations are particularly high. A prerequisite for a correct and complete treatment is clinical examinations and the creation of a diagnostic and treatment plan.

Stop smoking. Smoking affects the health of diabetic people. According to research from the University of Colorado in Denver, led by radiology professor Kavita Garg, they analyzed data on more than 53,000 people, former and current smokers. About 13% of smokers with diabetes died within seven years, compared to almost 7% of smokers without diabetes.

Control diabetes with proper nutrition. Diet is inextricably linked to diabetes. It is important to follow the diet plan closely and maintain your weight within the normal body mass index. Frequent blood sugar readings help to better control your diabetes and ensure that it is properly regulated.

Check your feet daily for any changes. Changes such as cuts, redness, swelling, sores, blisters, calluses or any other change in the skin or nails. These are symptoms that are regularly encountered in a diabetic foot. Use a mirror if you can't see the bottom of your feet or ask a family member to help you.

Keep your feet clean. The diabetic foot is prone to infections. For this reason, make sure you wash your feet daily with warm water. But do not soak them in water for a long time. When you're done, make sure your feet are completely dry.

Choose shoes that fit you. Shoes should fit properly and not cause any discomfort. Careful nail care is also important to avoid minor injuries.

Schedule medical visits for a check-up. At each visit with your doctor for a complete diabetes examination, it is recommended to have a diabetic foot check, especially if you have any nerve damage, for sensation and proper blood flow to your feet.

Avoid walking barefoot. Always wear shoes and socks or slippers to avoid injury or infection. Check that there are no stones or other objects inside your shoes and that the sole is smooth.

In summer avoid walking on the hot sand barefoot as it can burn your feet. Even in the sea, it is recommended to wear special shoes for possible injuries on stones.

Introduce exercise into your daily routine. You can include walking, cycling or even swimming. Movement helps with good blood circulation. Talk to your doctor about which activities are best for you and which you should avoid so as not to aggravate the condition of your diabetic foot.

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