Diabetes is a chronic illness affecting sixty million Indians and is characterized by sustained levels of high blood sugar. Some metabolic disorders that may accompany the illness are chronic kidney failure, diabetic ketoacidosis, nerve damage, heart disease and diabetic foot.
Diabetic foot results from diabetic neuropathy and/or peripheral vascular disease. The diabetic neuropathy can very quickly result in blisters, sores and foot ulcers that are unable to heal quickly, burning and tingling of the foot, tenderness of the big toe and numbness and loss of foot sensation. Therefore, diabetic foot treatment is a priority for patients with diabetic neuropathy.
The loss of pain sensation in the feet due to diabetic neuropathy means that it is often possible to overlook sores and cuts that can quickly develop into a more serious condition. Daily foot checks are therefore essential.
Foot ulcers are those sores or lesions that keep recurring or that do not get better in diabetic patients. One should treat it with the utmost urgency and care as they can quickly develop into a quite serious condition. A foot ulcer can be a shallow, red depression but it can penetrate quite deep into the full thickness of the skin into the underlying bone.
The ulcers generally develop at weight-bearing areas and can start to manifest as a callus or corn. If the ulcer becomes infected, aggressive wound cleaning or debridement is required followed by antibiotic prescription, either orally or intravenously.
Regular foot cleaning should be a priority for patients with diabetic foot, with a tendency to develop foot ulcers.
One should leave shoes outside the entrance after returning home from outdoors. And should also wear indoor shoes as it protects the feet from sores and cuts.
One should wash his or her feet with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. A medicated soap like Hibiscrub is available over the counter. For best results, leave Hibiscrub on for at least two minutes and then wash off well. Follow this regimen twice a day.
After cleansing, the feet should be well dried especially in between the toes. If we dip Surgical cotton in surgical spirit and dab it in between the toes, it will help to dry out the vulnerable area properly. Trim the toenails regularly. Ideally, one should trim the nails straight across and any sharp edge should be smoothened down with a nail file. Moisturize the feet but not in between the toes. Lastly, wear well-fitting and comfortable footwear at home to minimize the risk of cracked heels, sores and foot ulcers developing.
Feet should be regularly checked for cracks, sores and foot ulcers with a mirror if you are unable to check the soles of the feet. Otherwise, ask someone to assist you in checking the soles of the feet if possible.
For proper management of diabetic foot and foot ulcers, the need of the hour includes many measures. Like, taking care of blood sugar levels through medication and lifestyle changes like diet control and walking, checking feet daily for sores and ulcers, trimming toenails, cleaning feet and wearing shoes to protect the feet.