by Forrest Resnikoff, MD, FAAD
Years of elevated blood sugar levels can result in a type of damage to nerves called diabetic neuropathy. If you have this condition, the legs and feet can experience pain, tingling, burning or numbness. You may feel extreme sensitivity to even light touch. Nerves throughout the body can be injured by diabetes, but the legs are one of the more common areas. These symptoms are often worse at night.
A special cream, such as Diachieve Foot Therapy Cream, contains several ingredients that can temporarily improve the symptoms of neuropathy. This cream can be applied several times a day and can be helpful for itching, burning and the dryness that is often seen on the skin. Please avoid any areas of open sores or wounds and have these evaluated by your physician.
Whether or not you have diabetic neuropathy, there are several things that people with diabetes should do to protect their feet:
1. Be careful to shield your feet from injury. Wear properly fitted shoes to avoid friction and blistering. Check your feet daily looking for scrapes and cuts that can become infected and in the worst cases can lead to gangrene and amputation.
2. Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don’t put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
3. Fungus infection beneath the nails, between the toes and on the bottom of the foot is a common occurrence in diabetics. Such an infection can create cracks and openings in the skin that can allow penetration of more serious bacterial infections. Check the web spaces between the toes, and if cracks or rashes are present please see your physician for treatment of possible fungus infections. Dry these areas carefully after a shower because moisture promotes the growth of fungus. Change socks if they become wet with perspiration.
4. Avoid severe dryness of the skin, especially in winter by washing with gentle cleansers and then applying moisturizing cream such as Diachieve Foot Therapy Cream.
5. The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy from arising is to control your diabetes. It is important to maintain normal blood sugar levels over the long term.
6. If discomfort in the legs or feet persists, please see your physician to have the problem evaluated