Diabetes is an ailment which brings with itself a hoard of other issues such as weakening of immune system, hand as well as foot issues etc. Most frequently encountered among diabetics are foot problems which consist of numbness of toes, cold feet, corns, athlete's foot, calluses and ulceration.
The reason behind diabetic people facing so many foot related issues is that lower limbs do not have proper blood circulation. This slows down the healing process considerably. What appears to be a minor cut or a blister or a corn has the potential to develop as an open sore, infection and indeed gangrene.
Some common foot problems faced by diabetes patients are as follows:
- Athlete's foot is very common in diabetics. This is because the perspiration of a diabetic body is sweet due to high concentration of blood sugar. This provides fungus an encouraging place to grow.
- One of the many severe conditions in diabetic people is neuropathy. It is the loss of nerve functioning gradually in limbs which can cause loss of sensation. It affects hands and ankles
- The diabetic people also suffer from numbness of hands as well as feet. If this problem is frequent, you need to consult a foot specialist. A regular diet with a healthy exercise rule benefits in this condition.
While all foot related problems are serious, however, one of the most frequently encountered foot diseases in diabetic individuals is the athlete's foot.
What Is Athlete's Foot?
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection which occurs near the toes. It happens due to unhygienic cleanliness of self or due to wet feet. It was so named as it was a persistent problem in the feet of athletic individuals.
In the initial phase, athlete's foot appears as flaky and scaly skin in between the toes, commonly between the fourth and the fifth toes. There can also occur wonderful cracking or fissures. It is odorless and may or may not be itchy.
However, as the problem persists, it may become more severe with infection spreading to the whole leg and developing into full-fledged sore feet which may result into gangrene.
Why Is Athlete's Foot a Concern for the Diabetics?
An untreated foot infected by this fungus can cause abrasions, bleeding as well as small cuts. This promotes bacteria to develop into inflammation called as Cellulitis. The Cellulitis is an advanced state of athlete's foot. It is non-contagious and happens because the immune system of a diabetic is weak.
Cellulitis is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness and tightening of the skin in the affected region. As a part of the treatment, oral antibiotic are prescribed to the patient. If the infection is left unattended, then dead and blackened tissue may develop which may lead to amputation.
The Connection between Athlete's Foot and Diabetes
The circulatory system of diabetic individuals is weak. This causes less immunity which results in increased infection risks. Thus, any untreated infection is hazardous. In major cases, unresolved infections in the lower limbs are the primary cause of amputations. This is the main reason why a mild infectious condition like athlete's foot is also a cause of concern for the diabetic patients.
A lot of people however believe that diabetes causes athlete's foot. This is a myth. It only increases chances of contracting it due to uncontrolled blood sugar amounts. This condition is also higher in older people.
Taking Care of Feet in Diabetic Condition
- Maintain your sugar levels.
- Examine your feet frequently for any redness, swelling, tenderness, pain etc.
- Wash your feet every day.
- Trim the toenails regularly.
- Balance your feet from hot and cold.
- Exercise on a regular basis to keep blood flowing in your feet.