Diabetes is a complex disease with lots of complications. The complications take a long time to develop and affect different systems of your body.

The complications are mainly due to changes in your blood vessels. The doctors will categorize them as micro and macrovascular changes. 

One such common complication that we see every day as doctors are diabetic wounds affecting the feet. They cause severe disability and can even lead to amputations of the toes, limbs, and can be life-threatening. 

So if you are someone with diabetes, you have to make sure that your feet are healthy. In this post, I will talk about how you can make sure your feet are safe from diabetes.

Control your blood sugar

control diabetes

Keeping your diabetes under control is very important. If you can keep your blood sugar levels at a healthy level, by good dietary habits, and with your medications, it will significantly decrease your chances of developing diabetic wounds. 

One of the main reasons for developing diabetic wounds is uncontrolled diabetes. 

Exercise regularly 

Regular exercise can help to increase blood flow to your feet, and also helps to control your hypertension. Healthy circulation is important in preventing diabetic foot ulcers. 

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, for five days a week, it will also help to control your diabetes.

Research has shown that regular exercise can enhance wound healing in people with diabetes due to improved blood flow.​1​

Routinely check your feet

Diabetic foot inspection - Source crh.org
Diabetic foot inspection – Source crh.org

Make sure you check your feet at least once a week to see if there are any signs of diabetic wounds occurring in your feet. 

Most diabetic wounds start as small blisters and progress to ulceration and abscess formation, following infection. 

Make sure that your feet are free from cracks, these cracks can get infected and lead to a foot infection.

Keep an eye on your web spaces, and make sure you keep them dry. If you don’t keep your web spaces dry, they can cause fungal infections of your feet.

Keep your nails trimmed and make sure they are clean.

If you see any signs of wound infections or fungal infections, make sure to seek medical attention.

Stop smoking

Peripheral vascular disease
Smoking can cause peripheral vascular disease and make diabetic wounds worse

Smoking will reduce the blood flow to your legs due to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels causing peripheral vascular disease. 

Peripheral vascular disease and limb ischemia can reduce wound healing and can ultimately lead to amputations.

Keep your feet dry

Make sure to check your feet before you put your socks and shoes, dry your legs by using a towel, and especially make sure to dry the spaces between your fingers.

Wet feet can cause fungal infections in your legs and bacterial infections. Therefore it is very important to keep your feet dry.

Keep an eye on neuropathy 

Diabetic neuropathy is also a complication in diabetes that will reduce the sensations of your legs. If you develop diabetic neuropathy, you will not feel any pricks and bruises, that if you don’t attend will lead to infections.

If you develop or already have diabetic neuropathy, make sure to wear footwear specially designed for people with diabetes to protect your feet.

Wear your footwear

Diabetic friendly footwear
Diabetic friendly footwear

Wearing footwear, especially when you are going outside. That will help you from getting cuts and bruces that will lead to diabetic foot infections.

Protect your feet from cuts and bruises anyway you can, as most complex diabetic foot wounds develop from small cuts and bruces that people don’t attend.

If you already have nonhealing foot ulcers, or regularly getting diabetic wounds in your feet, make sure you get yourself diabetic footwear, specially designed for people with diabetes to protect their feet.  

When to seek medical attention?

You might be having a diabetic foot infection if you have some of the following symptoms,

  • If your feet are red and swollen
  • If you develop a fever and see any discharge coming from your wound
  • Any signs of blackish discoloration of your toes with watery and smelly discharge 

Treating a diabetic wound early and aggressively is very important, and early detection and treatment can prevent disabling amputations.

Diabetic foot ulcers and wounds are a reason for severe disability, keeping your diabetes under control and taking good measures can help you to live a healthy life with healthy feet. 

  1. 1.
    Eraydin Ş, Avşar G. The Effect of Foot Exercises on Wound Healing in Type 2 Diabetic Patients With a Foot Ulcer. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. December 2017. doi:10.1097/WON.0000000000000405

Dr Rukshan Ranatunge is a graduate from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya (MBBS). He is currently studying for his masters in health informatics.

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