Diabetic Foot Health
Diabetes is a condition where your blood glucose level is to high. Your body is unable to cope with the amount of blood glucose therefor insulin production is either to little or none at all.
This can cause damage to the nervous system preventing messages being sent to and from the brain. This type of nerve damage is referred to as neuropathy and can have a major impact in the nerves within our feet and legs
High blood glucose also causes damage to your blood vessels causing circulatory problems to your feet and legs with less blood getting to your skin, muscles and tissues.
Diabetic patients should visit a podiatrist at least once every year to have an annual foot check as diabetics are more prone to infection due to poor healing and circulatory problems along with neuropathy. Diabetics are more prone to ulcerations which, if left untreated can lead to amputation.
Causes of thickened toe nails
Fungal infection, trauma, age related, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and psoriasis are the most common reasons for thickened nails
As we get older unfortunately our toe nails thicken as growth rate slows down. This is due to the changes within the cells. PAD restricts blood flow to the extremities can also cause thickened brittle toenails. Fungus plays a key role in this as it thrives in moist dark interior footwear. Fungal infections can also cause the toe nails to become yellow and emit a foul odour. A podiatrist can treat and advise patients on the correct way of treating fungal infections and how to prevent further spread.
Ingrown toe nails can be caused by ill-fitting footwear, trauma, poor cutting of the nails, picking of the nails and how the nails grow; for example: some people may be prone to involuted nails. A podiatrist will show patients how to cut the nails correctly (straight across) and how to prevent nails from ingrowing with different techniques and products which can help in prevention.
Verruca’s are a common problem for those young and old. Verruca’s are a virus known as the (HPV) human papilloma virus. Verruca can appear in many different ways as there are more than one strain of (HPV) .Different types of forms include satellite mosaic or singular. Verrucae invade the epithelial cells of the epidermis causing them to multiply more rapidly. Verruca’s can go unnoticed for many people however some may cause pain depending on location. It is best to consult a podiatrist on treatment options to ensure the best treatment and prevention and further spread of the virus.
Cause of callus/corns
Callus or area of thickened skin can be a cause of friction, pressure or physical or chemical irritation
Callous forms when mild but repeat injury is applied to the outer layer of the skin known as the epidermis. This causes the epidermis to become increasingly active giving rise to localised increase in tissue which serves to protect the underlying tissues. This can be known as hyperkeratosis.
As an increase in pressure is applied a patient may develop corns which are cone shaped and painful. Corns can press onto nerve ending depending on how deep they are pressing into the dermis. Corns can be treated by removal of corn using a blade and overlying callous reduced. Corns do redevelop if the pressure is not removed from that particular area. This can be done by examination of foot posture and deformity regular routine treatment to prevent build up of callous and offloading areas using padding and insoles.
External Factors to consider for your diabetic feet
Intrinsic factors for callus/corn formation
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Written by: Dr Sharon Banks