Diabetic Foot • Symptoms & Prevention

Diabetic foot syndrome is the reason for more than 30,000 amputations per year in Germany. In fact, the “diabetic foot” is a very feared secondary disease of diabetes mellitus – even if there are good options for prevention and treatment today.

The diabetic foot syndrome is primarily the result of nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) on the feet and legs, which can occur as a result of insufficiently controlled blood sugar levels in diabetes. Circulatory disorders often also play an important role.

Article content at a glance:

Identify diabetic foot syndrome from pictures

What are the consequences of diabetic foot syndrome?

As a result of the nerve damage, in the long term there is an increasing numbness in the legs, so that pain is not perceived. In this way, unnoticed injuries can spread and possibly even become infected – poorly healing wounds and pressure sores can result, which in the worst case can result in amputation.

It is all the more important to recognize the first symptoms of the onset of neuropathy and also to pay sufficient attention to the subject of foot care in everyday life. Regular check-ups are also important at least once a year or whenever there are any changes in the feet.

Diabetic foot syndrome: symptoms

Symptoms of diabetic foot syndrome include:

  • Decreased pain and temperature perception in the feet (often unnoticed)
  • Numbness or pain (stabbing, burning)
  • Increased sensitivity
  • “Ants running”, ie tingling on the feet / legs
  • Dry skin
  • Lack of perspiration
  • Deformation of the toes (claw toe / hammer toe)
  • Walking insecurities
  • Pressure points
  • Badly healing wounds
  • Blistering

Important: If you notice the first symptoms of diabetic foot syndrome, you should see a doctor strongly advised.

Treatment options for diabetic foot syndrome

Specialists are usually responsible for the treatment of diabetic foot syndrome – the therapy is often interdisciplinary. Different podiatry experts or vascular specialists work hand in hand.

The most important therapeutic measures at a glance:

  • Improving blood sugar control (switching from tablets to insulin, or adapting insulin therapy)

  • Professional wound treatment (partly with bandages, partly surgically)

  • Relief of symptoms through appropriate medication

  • Administration of antibiotics for infections

  • Improvement of wound healing by means of pressure relief (through bed rest, walking aids or temporary use of a wheelchair)

  • Surgery (for joint stiffening, removal of infections)

Amputation is not the logical consequence of diabetic foot syndrome. As a rule, it is only necessary if the blood circulation is permanently and irreversibly disturbed or if an infection cannot be brought under control. In some cases, an extremely developed deformity also requires an amputation. Important to know: The amputation is usually limited to the toe area or the metatarsus and can often be avoided with appropriate care.

Remove calluses: These callus removers are available

Prevent the diabetic foot

There are good ways to prevent a diabetic foot. On the one hand, of course, optimal blood sugar control is important. Proper care and regular control of the feet is also essential. In special diabetic training courses, patients learn what is important when it comes to healthy feet.

Control of the feet

Inspect your feet every day – do you spot bruises, blisters or wounds, for example? Also, pay attention to spaces between toes, nails, and the soles of your feet. Pay special attention to the spaces between your toes, nails and the soles of your feet.

Pedicure in diabetes

Daily foot baths are recommended for a maximum of three minutes at 35 to 37 ° C (use a bath thermometer). Then dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.

Then apply cream to the feet, but not between the toes. Ideally, a product with moisture-binding ingredients, such as urea, is used to prevent cracking and dehydration.

Nail care for diabetes

When filing nails, it is better to use a sandpaper file instead of a metal nail file. It is important to file sharp corners on the sides (use a sand leaf file with rounded corners). Carefully remove calluses and calluses with a pumice stone.

Caution: Pointed and sharp-edged objects (e.g. scissors, rasps) are unsuitable because of the risk of unnoticed injuries. Basically, diabetics should never wear shoes that are too tight and should always inspect the shoes for foreign objects such as small stones.


Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.

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