More and more Indians are being diagnosed with diabetes as a result of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles. According to the International Diabetes Federation, India currently has 50 million diabetics. And due to lack of awareness, almost 50000 diabetics undergo diabetic foot amputation every year.
Doctors say that nearly 70% of all diabetics eventually suffer from peripheral neuropathy – nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system, caused by high blood sugar. Longstanding high blood sugar can damage blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to the foot. This poor circulation can weaken the skin, contribute to the formation of ulcers, and impair wound healing. Some bacteria and fungi thrive on high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, and bacterial and fungal infections can break down the skin and complicate ulcers.
High blood sugar also interfered with the ability of nerve cells to transmit signals efficiently to the brain. This results in numbness, loss of sensation in the feet, loss of proprioception.
Poor blood circulation to the foot can lead to a significant amount of increase in the time taken for a wound to heal. This may also cause a wound to spread. A non-healing wound may require amputation of a toe, foot or even part of the leg.
This makes it extremely important for diabetics to take care of their feet on a daily basis. There should be a two pronged approach here: daily foot care and diabetic orthotic insoles. Diabetic orthotic insoles are insoles that offload high pressure points on the soles of your feet. When you lose foot sensation, you cannot feel if you are putting unduly high pressure at particular points on the soles of your feet when you walk. When certain areas of the feet come under excessive pressure for a prolonged period of time, the foot can develop calluses or wounds or ulcers that may take a very long time to heal, or may not heal at all, eventually needing an amputation.
If a doctor has ever said you had an elevated blood sugar level — even just once when you were pregnant — you are at risk for diabetes. Nervous system impairment (neuropathy) is a major complication that may cause you to lose feeling in your feet or hands. This means you won’t know right away if you hurt yourself. The problem affects about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes.
Foot problems are a big risk. All people with diabetes should monitor their feet. If you don’t, the consequences can be severe, including amputation.
Proper footwear is an important part of an overall treatment program for people with diabetes, even for those in the earliest stages of the disease. If there is any evidence of neuropathy, or lack of sensation, wearing the right footwear is crucial. By working with a physician and a footwear professional, many patients can prevent serious diabetic foot complications.
Orthotic insoles for Diabetes
Orthotics can be very useful in avoiding friction and pressure sores. At Podiapro, we use a baropedometer to analyze the weight distribution on your feet before we fabricate insoles that take care of the exact pressure points that need to be offloaded. Out diabetic insoles also hold your foot in the correct posture thus minimizing chances of you putting excessively high pressure on certain areas. A special diabetic grade poron is used to offload pressure and protect your feet. The posture correction offered by the insoles arrests poor foot function caused by over pronation. This also stabilizes your foot and reduces the risk of putting excessive weight in incorrect areas.
And here are some tips to keep in mind for daily foot care:
- Check your feet every day for red spots, cuts, blisters, calluses, swellings
- Wash your feet every day with soap and warm water, dry them well, completely
- Keep your skin soft and smooth by using a moisturizer on the top and bottom of your feet
- Keep your toe nails trimmed and filed
- Wear socks and shoes at all times
- Protect your feet from hot and cold as you might not be able to sense the temperature
- Keep blood flowing to your feet by putting your feet up when you sit and wiggling your toes
- Quit smoking as smoking can worsen heart and vascular problems reducing circulation to your feet.
- Get your feet evaluated by a diabetologist or an orthotist regularly