The condition of your foot not only helps you keep pace with others but is a reflection of the state of your health. Dry skin, brittle nails, and burning tingling sensation could indicate the possibility of systemic conditions like diabetes, arthritis and circulatory disease. To start off, the initial lesion may be just a skin ulcer. But over time unless care is taken, the condition could deteriorate to the state of a "diabetic foot" which is the result of a combination of pathological changes possibly even leading to amputation of the foot or death due to other complications.
Several factors are responsible for the human foot being specially affected by diabetes. But what is important is to know what diabetes could do to your foot and take steps to prevent that from happening. For example, diabetes can affect the joints of the foot and make them stiffer. Foot ulcers are commonplace in diabetes and if it becomes gangrenous then amputation is a possibility.
When diabetes affects the nerves in the foot it can cause what is called peripheral neuropathy. If you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy you may not feel anything even if your feet were to get infected, as for example even if your toes rub against the shoe and causes a sore that gets infected - you still won't feel a thing. As diabetes results in kidney damage, any wound occurring in the foot is unlikely to heal fast because kidney disease affects proteins that are involved in wound healing. When diabetic peripheral neuropathy is present it could cause your ankles to sprain and you would still not know about it - a condition referred to as Charcot foot. In other words you would continue to walk despite the sprain, causing even more damage to your ankle.
As is evident by now, if you have diabetes, caring for your foot is vital to your wholesome health. If you are a diabetic, here are a few do's and don'ts of foot care. The focus is more on preventing problems from developing in your foot.
Use mild soap and lukewarm water to wash your feet daily. To reduce moisture in the skin dust the skin with talcum powder but make sure to dust it away lest it gets between the toes and leaves residues there. If you have dry skin on the foot you could use an emollient but make sure it doesn't get between the toes.
Examine your foot each and every day for any change to the toenails or for any sores and bruises on the skin.
Keeping overall good health is essential for the health of your foot as well, and in that regard you have to keep away from smoking and drinking alcohol.
Pedicure your toenails straight and do not intrude on to the corners of toenails.
If you have corns and callus consult a podiatrist. Do not use corn cures.
Never walk barefoot as the chances of accidental damage are always there. This should be the dictum even in your own home.
When you fit a new shoe make sure that it does not pinch your skin. Apart from length and breadth your shoe must have enough space for your toes also. People with a history of foot ulceration must wear custom fitted footwear and orthotics. That is because wearing the right type of footwear is vital to preventing further ulcers.
If you are suffering from diabetes mellitus, you must subject yourself to a yearly comprehensive foot examination by a competent doctor, preferably a podiatrist. This would help sustain the quality and duration of your life.