Diabetic foot: what it is and what are its symptoms
The diabetic foot It is a complication or clinical alteration that causes the appearance of ulcers and that the diabetic people suffer. When blood sugar levels are very high, nerves or blood vessels can be damaged over time.
It occurs as a consequence of two causes. On the one hand, occlusion of the arteries of the foot. On the other hand, the alteration of the nerves. This second cause is that which reduces sensitivity and makes the person not notice even the slightest touch, which is known as diabetic neuropathy.
This damage that occurs in the nerves causes the diabetic person not to notice when not having sensitivity of chafing, cuts, sores or blisters. As a consequence, ulcers and infections may appear.
In the first of the causes, the occlusion of the peripheral arteries of the foot decreases the oxygen in the tissues, which makes the foot more vulnerable to any type of trauma in the heel area and in other areas.
The main symptoms of diabetic foot
The symptoms of diabetic foot are the appearance of ulcers as a result of friction or trauma, they are difficult to heal and can become infected. This is one of the most serious signs, but not the only one.
It is also common for other related and more or less evident signs to emerge, such as the presence of tingling and cramping, as well as the absence of sensitivity.
When diabetes affects the feet due to the deterioration of the nervous system, nerves are damaged, which causes a loss of sensation in the feet.
That is why, when there is a cut or chafing on the feet, they usually go unnoticed, leading in turn to problems that can cause new pressure points in which blisters, ulcers or chafing are formed.
Due to poor blood circulation, the lesions heal more slowly.
Within the group of diabetics some groups are more vulnerable or prone to suffer the complication of diabetic foot, such as for example that the diabetic person has some deformity in the foot such as bunions, joint problems, claw-like fingers, people with obesity, sedentary people, smokers.
To avoid suffering from diabetic foot it is extremely important to control blood sugar levels, do not neglect, go to frequent checks and also take care of hygiene in the feet.
In frequent controls, the possible onset of both a nerve alteration and a loss of sensitivity is detected.
In these controls, the nurse will put pressure on different areas of the foot to know if the patient feels it or not.
In addition to exerting pressure, you will also observe thermal sensitivity by applying heat and cold, vibrational sensitivity, and reflections.
To detect if there is an alteration of the arteries of the foot, the nurse will do a scan of the pulses of the area, of the ankle-arm, for this he will use the cuff to measure the blood pressure and a Doppler ultrasound with which he will explore the circulation arterial.
Once the symptoms that alert of the appearance of the diabetic foot as they are the ulcers have appeared, it is necessary to go to the doctor without delay to begin the treatment and to cure the ulcers as soon as possible to avoid infections.
These cures are carried out by the nursing staff, although there are situations in which the presence of the vascular surgeon is necessary for their control.
How to take care of feet with diabetes
When you have diabetes, it is very important take care of the feet, monitoring the presence of cardinals, painful areas, wounds, fever, cuts or nail problems, among others.
It is especially recommended to wash your feet with warm water and a mild soap, use good quality moisturizer, and cut your nails with a straight shape.
Tips to avoid diabetic foot as much as possible
There are some useful tips that will help you avoid, if possible, the diabetic foot, especially if you currently suffer from diabetes. They are the following:
- Control blood sugar levels, do not neglect.
- Check the feet every day.
- Wash your feet every day with a soft, neutral gel.
- Do not use hot water, use warm water between 35 º and 37 º C.
- Do not have your feet soaking more than 5 minutes.
- Dry the feet well with a soft towel, without rubbing.
- Dry well between the fingers.
- Go to the podiatrist when cutting the nails or filing calluses.
- Avoid that the nails are buried in the laterals of the fingers.
- File the nails carefully and straight.
- Do not use clippers, scissors, file the nails with extreme care.
- Use cotton socks that do not have seams.
- Wear soft shoes that fit well on the foot.
- Protect the feet from both heat and cold.
- Go to the controls.
- Go without delay to any anomaly in the feet.
- Walk daily, at least 30 minutes.