What you need to know about the diabetic foot

How does diabetes affect your feet?  That is a common question I hear daily in our office.  People with diabetes need to know what to look for in changes with their feet and understand when it is important to seek the help of a podiatrist. 

Look at the foot problems below and see if you have any of the following.  If so, call Advanced Podiatry at 813-875-0555 for a diabetic foot evaluation by one of our doctors and make sure your feet are healthy and happy!

  • Corns and Callouses– For people with diabetes, corns and callouses can be the start of a slippery slope.  The development of these lesions are a red flag to a podiatrist that the area developing the callous is high pressure making it prone to an ulcer (open sore) on a patient’s foot.
  • Ingrown toenails– If you experience redness, drainage or swelling at the corner of your toenails, you could have an ingrown nail.  Most people experience pain or discomfort with ingrown nails; however, sometimes people with diabetes have a loss of sensation of pain receptors in the toes and do not experience pain.  So just because it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it looked at!
  • Dry, cracked skin People with diabetes may experience dry, cracking skin on the heels, bottom of the toes or in between the toes.  Diabetes can cause dry, fissuring or cracking in the skin which can develop into an open wound at risk of infection.
  •  Open wounds or diabetic foot ulcers– If you have diabetes and notice an open wound or drainage ulcer on your foot, then you should see a podiatrist immediately for evaluation.  Since people with diabetes have compromised immune systems, it is much more difficult to fight off infection and heal wounds.  Don’t attempt to heal these on your own!  Always consult with your podiatrist for recommendations.
  • Thickened toenails– People with diabetes that have decreased blood flow to their feet should not be cutting their toenails.  Attempting to cut thickened toenails at home with regular toenail clippers can cut the skin underneath the nail.  An open sore along with poor circulation can lead to a multitude of problems incluing open wounds and infection.