The foot is complicated. It consists of 26 bones and 33 joints. It helps to give us balance and assists our body's other joints. It has two intrinsic muscles that support it, the tibialis anterior and peroneus longus muscles. With proper care, the foot can remain healthy for a lifetime.
Diabetes affects all areas of the body, including the feet. It is characterized by excessive blood sugar driven by poor diet, lack of exercise and underlying disease. One of the significant dangers to people with diabetes is suffering from “diabetic foot”. Other serious complications include amputation, heart disease, kidney disease and blindness. Here we will discuss diabetic foot and its effect on the human body.
A typical case of diabetic foot is characterized by excessive foot pain, inflammation and infection. It also involves excessive swelling. In a healthy person, the skin of the sole lies flat on the bone. If a part of the bone becomes infected, it can affect this flatness in several ways. There may be bony growths or thickening of the tissue under the skin.
The condition can also affect the foot and ankle by causing painful swelling. This is caused by excess fluid and dead cells or fibrosis within the joints. When these joints become inflamed, they swell and become painful. This leads to an inability of the operative parts to extend or contract properly and additional pain.
Diabetic foot can also manifest in the form of ulcers. These are also caused by pressure on the tendons, nerves or blood vessels and can develop across any foot location. The pressure on the tendons and nerves can lead to nerve damage, which leads to pain, numbness or tingling in the feet. In some cases, these ulcers do not develop at all.
A patient with diabetic foot may also have large hardened areas on their sole. These are often found on the medial or lateral sides of the heel, near the toes or between two toe joints. The varying locations of these hard areas are due to changes in pressure and fat deposits in these areas.
With some of these conditions, there may be a discomfort to weight bearing and painful pulses in the feet. These are signs that the condition has spread and is affecting more than one part of the foot. Other symptoms include yellow or brown discoloration of the skin.
It is vital to protect the feet, especially if the condition has been present for a long time. Poor circulation means that wounds heal more slowly. Diabetics should also be extra careful when exercising due to the added stress on their joints. Check your foot daily for any redness or pain. You can detect a small problem before it becomes a major one.
People with diabetes should also avoid tight bandages on their feet. This is necessary to prevent further damage or irritation to the foot's tissues. You can wrap a clean and dry bandage around the foot but not too tightly. If your feet feel sweaty or hurt, use foot powder to eliminate the symptoms.
Lifestyle changes are also necessary to protect your feet. Patients need proper nutrition, exercise and a balanced weight. Weight gain or loss can affect diabetes and cause further complications with your feet. Exercise will help your weight and circulation, which will aid in preventing problems with your feet.
During exercise, balance your weight correctly. Instead of putting all your weight on one part of the foot while running, distribute it equally. Rest the injured foot regularly when training. The best exercises include bicycling, swimming, walking and running. In terms of footwear, people with diabetes should use shoes that fit comfortably and provide proper support for the foot. Walk around in them before you buy. If the shoe is too tight, try another pair.
People with diabetes should establish a routine that includes regular checkups, healthy food choices and exercise. For diabetics that are in active lifestyles, certain measures should be taken to ensure optimal foot health. Taking care of the feet is especially important to prevent diabetic foot.