| Education Material for Health Care Professionals: Book Version
THE FEET AND DIABETES
In so far as foot complications are concerned, prevention is still the best policy. It is absolutely essential that the feet of all the patients be examined for the presence of any problems which may predispose the patient to foot infections.
If present, these MUST be treated before, rather than after, a foot infection develops.
Corns and calluses are thick layers of skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot. Corns and calluses can become infected.
Blisters can form if shoes always rub the same spot. Wearing shoes that do not fit or wearing shoes without socks can cause blisters. Blisters can become infected.
Ingrown toenails happen when an edge of the nail grows into the skin. The skin can get red and infected. Ingrown toenails can happen if one cuts into the corners of ones’ toenails when they are trimmed. One can also get an ingrown toenail if your shoes are too tight.
A bunion forms when the big toe slants toward the small toes and the place between the bones near the base of the big toe grows big. This spot can get red, sore, and infected. Bunions can form on one or both feet. Pointy shoes may cause bunions. Bunions often run in the family. Surgery can remove bunions.
Plantar warts are caused by a virus. The warts usually form on the bottoms of the feet and tend to go away without treatment.
Hammertoes form when a foot muscle gets weak. The weakness may be from diabetic nerve damage. The weakened muscle makes the tendons in the foot shorter and makes the toes curl under the feet. This may lead to sores on the bottoms of your feet and on the tops of your toes. The feet can change their shape. Hammertoes can cause problems with walking and finding shoes that fit well. Hammertoes can run in the family. Wearing shoes that are too short can also cause hammertoes.
Dry and cracked skin can happen due to nerve involvement. Dry skin can become cracked and allow germs to enter.
Conversely, excessive sweating can lead to skin which gets macerated and form an entry point for bacteria.
Athlete's foot is a fungus that causes redness and cracking of the skin. It is itchy. The cracks between the toes allow germs to get under the skin. The infection can spread to the toenails and make them thick, yellow, and hard to cut.
All of these foot problems CAN and MUST be taken care of!