Living with diabetes can be a challenging experience, with a range of complications to manage and monitor. One common issue that people with diabetes may face is the development of calluses on their feet. While calluses are a relatively common problem, they can be particularly problematic for those with diabetes. This is because diabetes can cause nerve damage, leading to a loss of feeling in the feet. As a result, people with diabetes may not feel when they have a callus, which can cause the condition to worsen and eventually develop into a foot ulcer. To prevent this from happening, see a diabetic foot care podiatrist at the first sign of a callus on your foot.
Foot Callus Complications If You Have Diabetes
Calluses are thickened areas of skin that form in response to pressure or friction. They often occur on the bottom of the feet and can be painful or uncomfortable. In people with diabetes, calluses can be particularly problematic because they can often go undetected and lead to foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are open wounds or sores that can become infected and are slow to heal. A foot ulcer can lead to more serious complications such as infection, gangrene, and even amputation if left untreated.
It is essential to seek medical attention from a podiatrist as soon as you notice a callus on your foot if you have diabetes. A podiatrist can examine your foot and provide treatment to prevent the callus from turning into an ulcer.
How a Podiatrist Helps You Manage Foot Calluses
If you have diabetes and develop a callus on your foot, seeking medical attention from a podiatrist is essential. A podiatrist can help you in several ways, including:
- Trimming the callus. A podiatrist can use a sterile scalpel to trim the callus and reduce pressure on the affected area. This can help prevent the callus from worsening and turning into an ulcer. Never attempt to cut or trim a callus at home if you have diabetes since it can lead to an open wound susceptible to infection.
- Recommending proper footwear and orthotics. A podiatrist can recommend proper footwear options to reduce pressure on the feet and prevent calluses from forming. They can also provide custom orthotics or shoe inserts to wear inside your shoes to alleviate pressure on certain areas of your feet.
- Providing education. A podiatrist can provide education on foot care and diabetes management to prevent future complications. This includes proper hygiene, regular foot inspections, and daily foot checks to ensure no new calluses or wounds have formed.
- Addressing any underlying issues. If your callus is due to an underlying foot problem, such as a hammer toe or bunion, a podiatrist can treat these conditions to prevent calluses from forming.
If you already have a foot ulcer, a podiatrist can provide comprehensive treatment to help it heal. This may include:
- Debridement. A podiatrist can debride the ulcer, which involves removing the dead tissue using specialized tools. Dead tissue can prevent the wound from healing and can increase the risk of infection.
- Apply dressings. A podiatrist can also apply dressings to the ulcer. Dressings can protect the wound and help it to heal more quickly. There are several types of dressings that a podiatrist may use, depending on the severity of the ulcer and other factors.
- Prescribe antibiotics. If the foot ulcer is infected, a podiatrist may prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection. It's essential to take antibiotics as prescribed and to complete the full course, even if the symptoms improve before the medication is finished.
- Provide offloading devices. Reducing pressure on the affected area is also crucial in helping a foot ulcer heal. A podiatrist can provide offloading devices, such as a cast or special shoe, to help reduce pressure on the ulcer and promote healing.