Diabetes and Your Feet
Did you know that your feet can act as an early warning system for several diseases that affect the whole body? One of these is diabetes. At NY Foot Health, we want patients to learn to recognize the signs of diabetes in their lower extremities.
Diabetes affects over 29 million Americans and 8 million don’t know that they have it yet. Regular checkups with your podiatrist can help spot symptoms of diabetes and other diseases in their earliest stages. (Don’t have a podiatrist? We can help you locate a qualified one in your area with our online directory.) But regular self-exams can also help you identify symptoms that may point to the onset of diabetes. When checking over your feet, look for the following:
Changes in skin color
Bleeding corns or calluses
Cuts, scrapes or open sores that don’t seem to be healing in a timely manner
Dry skin cracks, especially in the heel area
Unusual appearance of toenails
Swelling of the ankle or foot
In addition, patients with diabetes may also experience pain in their legs and numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in their feet and/or toes. This is because diabetes can have a negative impact on circulation and also cause neuropathy or nerve damage.
Of course, having one or more of these symptoms does not automatically mean you have diabetes. It does, however, signal that it is time for an appointment with the podiatrist. The podiatrist will do a complete medical examination of your feet and ankles and also take a medical history and perhaps conduct other imaging or laboratory tests to determine the root cause of your symptoms.
The good news is, that if you are diagnosed with diabetes, there are many ways to manage this disease. And, including a podiatrist in your treatment plan reduces the risk of lower limb amputation by 85% and the need for hospitalization by 24%.
To learn more about how diabetes and other diseases that affect your feet, contact us and sign up for our free e-newsletter.