Diabetes presents as complications the disturbance of the vascular system. The main affected areas of the body are the eyes, kidneys and especially the lower limbs. In diabetes, the blood vessels get narrower and become hardened.
Patients with diabetic foot who have poor circulation have the healing process compromised. Often it leads to pain when walking fast, especially on a hard surface or when using inappropriate footwear.
In addition to poor circulation, there might be a disruption in the functioning of nerve structures causing a reduction in the peripheral sensitivity to factors such as cold, pain and heat.
The emergence of cuts, blisters, calluses, undetected early enough, lead to wounds, ulcerations and, in extreme cases where there was no foot care can even lead to amputations.
However, this type of problem is more common when the disease is not well controlled, having symptoms such as tingling in the feet.
When we are past the prevention phase and there are ulcers, it is important to treat both the wound locally and its cause. Also, it is essential to do a proper management of pain, the debridement of affected tissues, the bacterial balance and the treatment of exudate.
Note that the diabetic foot has no cure, but there are treatments that can be performed in case of complications. After evaluation, treatments are always adapted to the patient’s complaints and underlying causes.
Here are some tips you can use for having better control of the situation:
– Always keep blood glucose controlled;
– Cut the toenails twice a month and do not remove the calluses;
– Wear closed shoes and soft, seamless socks made of natural fibers;
– Keep the feet clean and hydrated;
– Don’t keep your feet still by doing circular foot movements every 15 minutes; it helps maintaining a good blood circulation in your lower limbs as it improves the oxygenation in this area.
If there is a wound, it should be washed and protected with gauze and you must immediately consult your podiatrist.
The patient should not self-medicate or apply any ointment without prescription as this can aggravate the problem and increase the risk of future complications.
Text by Dr. António Figueiredo
PODIATRIST SINCE 2005, GRADUATED FROM CESPU (Escola Superior de Saúde de Vale do Sousa) Gandra – Paredes, professional license nº152 issued by the APP (Portuguese Association of Podiatry).