Diabetic Skin Care for Feet
When you think about it, your skin is an amazing thing!
According to Discovery Magazine here are some fun facts about your skin if you are an average adult:
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It weighs about 9 lbs. and has 11 miles of blood vessels. Your skin releases up to three gallons of sweat a day. Your skin sheds 50,000 cells every minute. It plays a major role in temperature regulation and it is the first line of defense against infections.
If you have Diabetes and feet, then you need to take great care of the skin on your feet. Diabetes can cause changes in the skin on your foot.
If your blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid, causing your skin to become dry. This occurs because the body is turning the water into urine to remove excess glucose from the blood. Your skin also can get dry if the nerves, especially those in your legs and feet, do not deliver the message to sweat (because of diabetic neuropathy). Sweating helps keep your skin soft and moist.
Bacterial and Fungal Skin Infections
Dry skin can become red and sore, and can crack and peel. Germs can enter through the cracks in your skin and cause an infection. A common example of this is Athlete’s Foot, which is another name for a fungus infection. In addition, dry skin usually is itchy, and scratching can lead to breaks in the skin and infection. Thick nails can cause pain and infections as well.
Elevated blood glucose provides an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, and can reduce the body’s ability to heal itself. These factors put people with diabetes at greater risk for skin problems. In fact, as many as a third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder related to their disease at some time in their lives. Fortunately, most skin conditions can be prevented and successfully treated if caught early. But if not cared for properly, a minor skin condition can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences.
A callus is a build-up of hard skin, usually on the underside of the foot. Calluses are caused by an uneven distribution of weight, generally on the bottom of the forefoot or heel. Calluses also can be caused by improperly fitting shoes or by an underlying bone abnormality. Keep in mind that some degree of callus formation on the sole of the foot is normal. Proper care is necessary if you have a callus. After your bath or shower, use a pumice stone or file to gently remove the build-up of tissue. Use cushioned pads and insoles. Medications also may be prescribed to soften calluses. DO NOT try to cut the callus or remove it with a sharp object.
Calluses are worrisome because almost all foot ulcers start out as a callus.
A foot ulcer is a break in the skin or a deep sore, which can become infected. Foot ulcers usually start out as calluses or pressure points caused by deformed feet or shoes that do not fit well. Early intervention is important in treating foot ulcers. Sores of your foot can lead to gangrene or tissue death. These are serious problems that need professional help.
What You Can Do
- Inspection. If your skin looks like a child’s skin you have nothing to worry about. Your skin is healthy. If it is dry, cracked or callused, that is a cause for concern. This should be treated. Look between toes. Wet skin or scaling should be addressed medically. Do not ignore these problems as many infections have occurred in these areas.
- Protection: Wear good shoes that are soft and fit well. Break new shoes in slowly especially if your feet are numb. Only wear a new shoe for a couple of hours per day until you are sure they fit well.
- Intervention: Get help early when you need it. If you have any of the above conditions contact us or a good podiatrist and get rid of these problems before they become serious. Time is a critical element in dealing with these problems.