Roughly one out of every ten Americans has diabetes. Approximately three more out of that group of ten have a condition known as prediabetes (which means blood sugar levels are slightly elevated and there is a heightened risk of progressing to Type 2 diabetes). Add those together and you find that about 40% of the population is either diabetic or at risk of becoming so.
Clearly, diabetes is a significant issue in the American health care scene. A simply critical measure for diabetic individuals is to manage the condition. One way to accomplish this is with regular physical activity. Of course, this means it’s imperative you know what is entailed with a post-workout diabetic foot inspection.
When you participate in sports and other physical activities there is always a certain degree of injury risk. This extends to regular exercise to maintain your overall health and wellbeing, and manage your diabetic condition. Now, it’s easy to think about broken bones and sprain when you hear “injury,” but having diabetes in the picture means we need to extend the definition to include anything out of the ordinary. So while an otherwise healthy person might not consider a callus to be an injury, someone with diabetes really should.
Keeping that in mind, you need to inspect your feet after any exercise for issues like:
Blisters. These are intended to be protective measures by your body, but they can break down over time and become ulcers. Additionally, a burst blister increases the risk for infection, which is especially concerning when diabetes impairs the body’s immune system.
Corns and calluses. Much like with blisters, these skin conditions are intended for protection, but also can become ulcers. The space between the dry, callused skin and the tissue underneath can potentially become a source of contamination. If you find yourself with a corn or callus, let us provide the care you need!
Cuts or scrapes. Depending on the nature of both your preferred activity and the footwear you choose, you may be at risk for cuts, scrapes, and other “minor” injuries. The problem in this case is that an injury considered minor for an otherwise healthy individual can escalate into a critical medical complication when diabetes is a factor.
Naturally, any trauma-based injury—like a break or sprain—will also be cause for concern. This is especially true in the case of compound fracture. If you break a bone and it pierces the skin, seek immediate emergency medical care!
It is virtually impossible to overstate the importance of keeping your feet wound-free when you have a condition like diabetes. Protection truly is your first line of defense. This means you need to take measures like wearing proper footwear and, even better, avoiding high-impact activities. The best workouts you can do are low-impact ones, especially aquatic ones like swimming and water aerobics.
After prevention, early treatment is your next-best course of action. If you observe anything unusual—after exercising or during your daily foot inspection—come see us as soon as possible. Give Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle a call at (541) 776-3338 and a staff member will help you schedule an appointment with our Medford office.