More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes. 7.2 million Americans didn’t know they had the condition.

Common accompanying signs of diabetes include dry skin and excess callus on the feet. They are partly responsible for severe foot complications such as diabetic foot syndrome. In the worst case, these complications and wounds may lead to amputation. However this doesn’t have to happen with the right care.

From foot problems…

Diabetic foot syndrome is one of the most common consequential disorders. It is sometimes also called diabetic foot. All diabetics should be well informed about it. This consequential disorder mainly affects the skin on the feet. Its circulation is not as good as normal. The skin nerves show disorders. Consequently the skin forms fewer fats and moisture. But fat in particular is an important component of the skin barrier. A lack of skin fats means that the moisture which is stored in the skin evaporates more easily. The skin quickly dehydrates and starts to itch. Strong scaling and cracks occur. These cracks are painful. They also allow fungi and bacteria to enter, further impairing the skin’s defenses.

… To problem feet

During these inflammations, ulcers which may extend to the bones can form, usually on the soles of the feet. Such wounds can also form easily underneath callus weals. If the function of the skin nerves is impaired, the person‘s gait may change. Certain areas of the foot sole are more severely strained in this case. The skin reacts to this strain with a natural protective mechanism: the callus layer thickens in the affected areas. Left untreated, however, the weal intensifies the pressure effects on the underlying tissues until a wound forms. In the worst case, such wounds or ulcers may lead to amputations. It is especially problematic that due to a nerve disorder, many diabetics feel no pain and do not even notice the foot problems or wounds. This makes it impossible to treat them at an early time.

Pay attention to your feet

Preventive measures are important for all persons with diabetes and patients with impaired pain sensation or circulatory disorders. It’s important to consistently avoid dry skin and excess callus on the feet, discover and treat problems at an early time, and ensure sufficient pressure relief for the feet. Diabetics should use qualified help for this and regularly have their feet inspected by a professional foot caregiver or podologist. Foot fungi, inflammation on the feet or between the toes and first signs of a wound must be treated immediately by a specialist, such as a dermatologist, in a diabetological specialty clinic or in the outpatient foot department of a hospital.