If you have diabetes, you may be extra careful with your feet. Reduced blood flow and nerve issues can contribute to pain, tingling, and sensitivity. Most diabetes patients are at an increased risk of minor issues, like cuts, blisters, and calluses becoming more serious.
But how do you protect yourself from these problems? The use of toe spacers may be one solution. Keep reading to learn the common problems diabetes patients experience with their feet and how toe spacers can help.
Common Feet Issues for Diabetics
Diabetes can affect the feet in a few different ways. The biggest culprit of foot problems in people with diabetes is damage to the nerves (and sometimes blood vessels) in the feet, which is called diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy is caused by the cumulative, long-term effects of high blood sugar. Diabetic neuropathy makes the feet sensitive and prone to recovering poorly when an injury takes place, which can lead to a host of secondary problems.
Here are some of the most common foot problems people with diabetic neuropathy face.
Some diabetics are prone to developing blisters. This is thought to be related diabetic neuropathy, but the direct link is unknown.
However, even if a diabetic isn’t prone to blisters, regular blisters can still pose a danger. Because of decreased sensitivity and blood flow in the feet, a regular blister is a lot more likely to become infected or fail to heal in people with diabetes.
Because people with diabetes suffer from poor blood flow, fluid buildup in the feet is fairly common. When this swelling is left untreated, it can turn into a condition known as peripheral edema.
Swelling may cause discomfort and make it difficult to wear shoes comfortably. The increased friction and irritation from wearing tight shoes can also increase the chance of secondary injuries, such as blisters and ulcers.
One of the most serious problems diabetics may face is infections. Reduced sensation in the feet and even just simply not being able to see the bottom of your feet make it harder for minor cuts and scrapes to heal properly or be noticed in time.
Because of reduced blood flow and swelling, these minor injuries fail to heal properly, and they can quickly become infected. When left untreated, these can progress into foot ulcers that may require amputation.
How to Avoid Developing Diabetes-Related Foot Conditions
So, what can you do to prevent these issues from happening? The first step is to properly manage your diabetes. This includes following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking any necessary medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Additionally, it’s important to regularly inspect and care for your feet. This means checking for cuts or scrapes and treating them promptly, keeping your feet clean and dry, and trimming nails properly.
But most importantly, it’s crucial to use the right footwear and orthotics. Wearing shoes that fit well and provide plenty of room for the toes is also important to prevent irritation and injuries.
Using Toe Spacers for Diabetes
This is where toe spacers can come in handy. Toe spacers, or toe separators, are small devices you place in between your toes while you’re walking, resting, exercising, or just going about your day.
The benefits of toe separators for diabetes include increasing blood flow to the toes and feet, which promote healing and decrease the chance of infections and ulcers.
Toe separators also work to keep the toes properly aligned, which prevents sores, blisters, and other injuries that occur because the toes rub together and cause friction. This is especially beneficial when used in combination with wide-toe-box diabetic shoes.
Overall, toe spacers can be a helpful tool in managing the foot health of people with diabetes. While they shouldn’t replace proper diabetes management and regular foot care, toe spacers can work to decrease the chance of developing diabetic-related foot problems and improve overall foot health.