According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, more than 9 million people in Canada have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Foot problems are a big risk for all diabetics. Diabetics must constantly monitor their feet or face severe consequences â€“ including amputation.
With a diabetic foot, a small wound or blister from wearing a shoe that's too tight can cause significant damage. Diabetes decreases blood flow, so injuries are slow to heal. When your wound is not healing, it's at risk for infection. As a diabetic, even minor infections can spread quickly. If you have diabetes you should inspect your feet every day. Look for puncture wounds, bruises, pressure areas, redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts and nail problems. Get someone to help you or use a mirror. Nervous system damage (also called neuropathy) affects about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes and is a major complication that may cause diabetics to lose feeling in their feet or hands.
If you have any swelling, warmth, redness or pain in your legs or feet, see your doctor right away. If you have any corns (thick or hard skin on toes), calluses (thick skin on bottom of feet), in-grown toenails, warts or slivers, have them treated by your doctor or a foot care specialist. Do not try to treat them yourself. Have your bare feet checked by your podiatrist at least once a year. In addition, ask your podiatrist or family doctor to screen you for neuropathy and loss of circulation at least once a year.
Take your socks off at every diabetes-related visit to your family doctor or podiatrist and ask him or her to inspect your feet.
A diabetic ulcer is a breakdown of the skin tissue on an area of the foot. An ulcer can develop quickly and may be painful and difficult to heal. Infection is a common complication. It is important to have an X-ray to determine whether there is any bone involvement when an ulcer is present.