November is Diabetes Awareness Month in the United States, with November 14 serving as World Diabetes Day. This all-to-common disease affects an estimated 30 million Americans, including 1 in 4 seniors over the age of 25.
Although diabetes can adversely affect health throughout the body, foot care must be an especially high priority for those who struggle with the disease. Why is that the case? Broadly speaking, there are two major reasons.
Feet Are Especially Vulnerable
Feet bear the full force your body weight with each step, and then some—as a matter of fact, the impact force may be several times your body weight when running or jumping. Even in healthy individuals, feet and ankles are at higher injury risk than most other parts of the body.
However, diabetes makes feet even more vulnerable. The condition is associated with both a reduction in blood circulation and degradation of peripheral nerve health. Because of their location, the feet are often hurt first and worst by these systemic changes. Poor circulation means feet can’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need, and have a harder time closing wounds or fighting infections. Poor nerve health means you may not feel any pain or discomfort when an injury occurs, and are less likely to intervene as quickly as you need to.
Feet Are Foundational For Healthy Living
But it’s not just that feet are more likely to get hurt that makes them such a priority. It’s also what they mean for your life. Feet are critical for virtually every activity or task that you perform, and when they hurt the physical and mental repercussions can be severe.
Painful feet keep you from activities you enjoy—sports, playing with kids and grandkids, going out with friends. They discourage you from being active and getting exercise, so you spend more and more time being sedentary. This significantly increases your risk for weight gain, loss of fitness, and countless systemic diseases and conditions that reduce your quality of life. And that’s the case merely with feet that hurt, but still “work.” Imagine what life might be like if your feet have to be amputated due to an uncontrolled infection!
If you or someone you love has diabetes, now is the time to make foot care a priority. The good news is that the most serious complications are not really that difficult to prevent—as long as you take the condition seriously. That includes regular check-ups from your podiatrist, examining your own feet carefully each day, doing your best to manage your sugar levels appropriately, and investing in proactive measures like diabetic footwear. If it’s time for your next check-up—or you’re ready to take a more active role in your diabetic foot care—give us a call today at (888) 689-3317.