Vitality

4 Foot Problems Linked To Diabetes

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you are more likely to experience various foot problems. There is also a much higher risk of complications — such as an amputation — compared to the rest of the population. Here are some problems you should get treated as soon as possible.

1. Changes in skin

You should get your feet checked out if you notice that the skin has become shiny and smooth. If this occurs in the form of reddish lesions, you may have a condition known as diabetic dermopathy. This is a skin condition which affects up to 30 percent of diabetics, typically older adults.

Your feet may also become noticeably dry, causing the skin to peel off. To reduce this risk, the American Diabetes Association recommends applying an unscented moisturizer such as plain petroleum jelly.  "Do not put oils or creams between your toes," their website added. "The extra moisture can lead to infection."

2. Fungal infection

You are likely suffering from a fungal infection called athlete's foot if you notice a red, scaly rash. This rash, which is very itchy and can lead to cracks, usually begins between the toes. 

You should speak to a doctor who will recommend medication to eliminate the fungus. Good hygiene is the best way to reduce your risk of athlete's foot and other infections — make sure to change your socks regularly, avoid sharing shoes, and keep your feet dry as much as possible.

3. Corns and calluses

You may develop thick patches of hardened skin on your feet known as corns or calluses. They vary by location as calluses tend to form on the heels or balls of the feet i.e. the areas that bear most of your weight. Meanwhile, corns affect other parts such as the skin between your toes or one of the bony areas.

Usually, a pumice stone can be used to gently remove them. However, do get examined by a podiatrist beforehand who will assess if there is any serious underlying issue. Do not try to cut the hardened skin off yourself as you could get hurt or increase the risk of a serious infection.

4. Ingrown toenails

Good nail care means trimming your toenails regularly and preferably taking your own tools if you are getting a pedicure at a salon. You should also wear the right type and right size of shoes as constant pressure from faulty footwear can take a toll.

If your toenails are curving and growing into the skin, you may need to get them trimmed by a podiatrist. While this problem can affect any of the nails, it usually occurs with the big toe. Ingrown toenails may also be accompanied by symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain.

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