Living with diabetes can be a humongous task in itself. Dealing with complications of it becomes a part and parcel of life. It is often easier said than done, considering the lowered healing capacity of the body. Foot care is one of the crucial aspects for people with diabetes. If only it was about monthly at-home or in-salon pedicure rituals. Appointments with podiatrists are no fancy affair.
People are familiar with calluses, often caused due to excessive walking or weight enduring exercises. These areas of thick and tough skin develop to protect the feet from pressure. It may cause discomfort that can be dealt with by adding insoles or changing footwear but for people with diabetes, it can be an added worry that can affect the quality of life with threatening consequences, if not dealt with caution.
IDENTIFYING CALLUSES FROM CORNS
They might look similar and are caused under similar conditions but calluses and corns are different. Calluses are larger in size than corns and form on the weight-bearing surfaces of the feet, for instance, the bottom of the toes, on the sole near the heel or at the ball. On the other hand, corns may form on the weight-bearing areas, but can also exist on the other parts of the feet. Calluses are not usually painful and appear to be smooth but with a thicker texture than the surrounding area. Corns may or may not be painful to touch and are accompanied with a hard centre circled by inflamed and irritated skin. Despite all the differences, both corn and callus may have the same dry flaky appearance.
People with diabetes are prone to sensitivity on the nerve endings in their feet. This can be medically attributed to elevated levels of blood glucose present in their body. While some experienced numbness, others can develop severe pain responses. In either case, the body stops receiving appropriate sensory response due to damage to the local nerves. It may also affect blood circulation and lead to further complications.
In normal situations, calluses protect the areas of the feet that bear the maximum weight. In the case of diabetics, natural healing of the body is impaired and foot ulcers can form under calluses. These can aggravate and cause acute infection leading to amputation risks.
It is therefore crucial for people living with diabetes to be more cautious and avoid any risk of infections. This makes their treatment and home care of calluses different from non-diabetics.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Calluses may be painful in some cases. As against treatment provided for non- diabetic people, it has to be treated with special care in people with diabetes. In people with diabetes, calluses should not be removed at home without medical assistance to avoid diabetic foot infections with the usage of unsafe and unsterilised blades. Avoid over-the-counter or self-medication that may contain salicylic acid. This is because salicylic acid disintegrates healthy skin cells around the callus.
Diabetics are known to exhibit other symptoms along with callus like a tingling sensation. This needs a special foot care regimen. It is mandatory to treat such calluses with the help of a podiatrist.
Diabetes management demands medical help but following a home care routine after consulting an expert comes handy to prepare for the diabetic foot. Here is a list of to-do’s to prevent infections arising from calluses.
○ Check both the feet every day and do not overlook any kind of infection.
○ Wash both the feet every day with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water and do not soak your feet for too long. Dry the feet right away and be gentle between your toes.
○ Invest in the right kind of footwear and emphasise on the feet. Stay alert and seek medical help for any kind of redness or irritation.
○ Try exercises of lesser impact such as cycling, swimming and yoga to lower the pressure from your feet.
○ Control blood sugar levels with proper medication, consultation, diet and exercise as that’s the only way to prevent nerve pain or neuropathy.