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Check out this great guest post by medical writer Tracy Rairigh discussing the importance of nutrition in managing diabetes and proper care to avoid or manage diabetic foot ulcers. Nutrition and paying proper attention to foot health is so crucial in maintaining quality of life with diabetes. Check out the full post below for great guidance and information!  

As if folks with diabetes don’t have enough to keep track of with regular blood glucose testing and dietary guidelines to follow, they also have to be on the lookout for diabetic foot ulcers. These common complications can sneak up on a person when they least expect it.

Anyone with diabetes is at risk of developing a foot ulcer, but with good monitoring and foot care practices they can lessen their odds. While there are ways to cure a diabetic foot ulcer, it’s easier to take measures not to let one develop than it is to heal one that’s already formed. Controlling your diabetes is the first step to lowering your risk of this dangerous condition.


Diabetes and Foot Ulcers

These open wounds are caused by the breakdown of skin tissue and exposure of the layers below. Though they can form on the hands, stomach, and legs, they are most commonly found on the feet. Often located on the balls of the feet or the bottom of the big toe, these pressure sores can affect the bone.

According to Healthline’s website, one of the most common signs is fluid drainage from the area, most noticeable as stains on the socks or shoes. You may also notice an unusual odor or color as well as swelling and irritation of the area. Occasionally, the first sign could be the formation of black skin tissue around the area. This is caused by lack of blood flow. Some people aren’t even aware there is an issue until infection sets in.

Diabetic foot ulcers most often occur in those with uncontrolled blood sugar and are caused by poor blood circulation or feet that have become injured or irritated. Those with hyperglycemia are at higher risk of infection due to the fact that high blood sugar can lead to nerve damage and a loss of feeling. It also slows down the body’s ability to heal itself. People with type 2 diabetes find it harder to fight these kinds of infections.

The risk of foot ulcers isn’t just loss of feeling in that area but can lead to infections their body can’t fight off and even the development of gangrene. These issues could result in amputation of the foot or leg. In many cases, a minor surgery (called debridement) is required to remove the infected skin. Proper wound care and following your doctors’ orders is very important.

The Power of Proper Nutrition

While proper nutrition is important for everyone, it’s huge for those living with diabetes. Not only does it keep your weight in check, but it helps lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It’s also a great way to ensure your body has what it needs to fight off infections and control your diabetes.

Many find balanced and moderated carb or calorie diets to be effective in managing their condition. Following nutritional guidelines is essential for wound care. Meal planning and portion control can help to maximize the nutritional value of the foods you take in and ensure that you don’t overeat or indulge in poor snack choices.

By choosing a diet high in non-starch vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and certain dairy products, you can help to avoid foot ulcers. Calorie intake is important for the body’s ability to heal wounds. Foods filled with vitamins and minerals as well as proteins are essential to both preventing and healing infections. It’s also important to stay hydrated with low or no sugar liquids.


Healing from Within

Sticking to a healthy diet is very important, but if you struggle with this, seeking the advice of your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you set a direction. Nutrition therapy, along with safe exercises can aid your chances of avoiding diabetic foot ulcers.

It’s important to follow the nutritional recommendations of your doctor and/or registered dietitian as well as go to any follow up appointments. If you notice any pain or new sores beginning to form contact your doctor immediately. If you have an ulcer, WebMD recommends following your doctors recommendations to clean the area.

To prevent ulcers avoid smoking, walking barefoot, and too much pressure on any one area. Checking your feet every day and treating any small sores immediately can help to discourage infection. Wear properly fitting socks and shoes and utilize shoe inserts to balance pressure across the entire foot. By following these tips, you can help to control your diabetes and lessen the chances of diabetic foot ulcers.

AUTHOR: Tracy Rairigh is a medical, business, and technical writer with a Writing in the Sciences Certificate from the University of Stanford Medical. She is also the owner of Rairigh Writing. With over 150 published articles in health and wellness and a degree in Engineering, she has a vast array of knowledge to pull from.

Feel free to comment or message with any questions!

Wishing you health and happiness,

Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN

Denver’s Dancing Dietitian

A Taste of Health, LLC

“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”