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Foot and Ankle Care for Diabetics

May 26, 2008
When you have diabetes, there is more to your self care than just watching your blood sugar. It is also important to make sure to avoid the foot and ankle problems that can come up as your diabetes progresses. One wise choice to make is to consult a podiatrist. He or she can provide you with an accurate assessment of the current condition of your feet, as well as give you personalized advice as to how to take care of your extremities and prevent damage.

One of the reasons that diabetics can have problems in the lower extremities is due to poor circulation. Blood flow is already a challenge when it comes to the fingers and toes: after all, everyone knows the stereotype of chilly feet in a bed or icy hands. But in diabetics this circulation issue is even more pronounced, leading to additional problems and occasionally amputation in extreme cases. What can you do? First off, exercise. The act of exercising always strengthens blood flow and improves circulation, especially in diabetic patients. Second, do not smoke, as smoking hampers your blood flow.

Another issue common to the feet in diabetics is neuropathy, or nerve damage. It can result in a loss of feeling in your foot and ankle, and can make it difficult to sense cold, heat, or pain. This is a problem because if you were to get an injury of some sort, you would not realize it and could cause additional damage.

It can also mean that you are more susceptible to frostbite or sunburn in those areas, because you are unable to sense the temperature of your skin. One thing to take care of in this case is to avoid warming up your cold feet with processes that are too extreme, particularly because your sensation of heat may be hampered and you could find you are doing damage by using a too intense method. Warm socks are your best bet.

Another issue that can occur with the diabetic feet is calluses. These rough areas are more common in diabetics and must be managed with care. It is always a good idea to speak with your podiatrist about treating calluses, rather than attempting to remove them yourself. This can lead to infection and a host of other problems.

Whatever condition your feet are in, the best thing that you can do for them is to consult regularly with a good podiatrist and follow his or her instructions. You will be glad you did!
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