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How to manage and treat diabetic foot calluses: Expert advice and tips

How to manage and treat diabetic foot calluses: Expert advice and tips

Living with diabetes can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing foot health. Diabetic foot calluses are a common issue that requires special care and attention. In this article, we will provide expert advice and tips on how to effectively manage and treat diabetic foot calluses.

Calluses are thickened areas of skin that form in response to pressure or friction. For people with diabetes, calluses can become a serious concern as they may develop into ulcers or wounds if not properly managed. It is crucial to prioritize foot care and seek professional guidance to prevent complications.

Our team of experts will discuss various treatment options, including proper foot hygiene, regular visits to a podiatrist, and the use of specialized foot creams. We will also explore the importance of wearing appropriate footwear and why diabetic foot calluses should never be treated without medical professional guidance.

By following our expert advice and implementing the right strategies, you can effectively manage and treat diabetic foot calluses, reducing the risk of further complications. Take control of your foot health and enjoy a better quality of life with diabetes.

Image of foot callus

Callus under foot

Understanding diabetic foot calluses

Foot calluses are areas of thickened skin that develop on the feet. These calluses are usually caused by excessive pressure or friction on specific areas of the foot. The constant pressure can lead to the formation of hardened skin, which, if left untreated, can result in serious complications.

For people with no general foot or health problems, a callus will disappear after avoiding pressure and friction on that area for a time. It is important to understand however that diabetic foot calluses are not just a cosmetic concern. They can lead to more severe problems such as ulcers and infections. People with diabetes often have reduced sensation in their feet due to nerve damage, making it difficult to detect early signs of calluses or injuries. This is why proper foot care and regular check-ups are essential for managing diabetic foot calluses.

Causes and risk factors of diabetic foot calluses

Several factors contribute to the development of diabetic foot calluses. The primary cause is excessive pressure on specific areas of the foot. This pressure can result from ill-fitting shoes, abnormal foot structure, or improper walking techniques. Other risk factors include:

  1. Peripheral neuropathy: Nerve damage can lead to a loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to detect pressure or friction that may cause calluses.
  2. Peripheral artery disease: Reduced blood flow to the feet can impair the healing process and increase the risk of calluses turning into ulcers.
  3. Poor circulation: Diabetes can affect blood circulation, leading to slower wound healing and an increased risk of callus formation.
  4. Foot deformities: Conditions such as hammertoes or bunions can cause uneven pressure distribution and lead to callus formation.
  5. Obesity: Excess weight can increase pressure on the feet and contribute to the development of calluses.

Understanding these causes and risk factors can help individuals with diabetes take proactive steps to prevent and manage diabetic foot calluses.

The importance of managing diabetic foot calluses

Managing diabetic foot calluses is crucial for preventing complications and maintaining overall foot health. Neglecting calluses can result in the development of ulcers, infections, and even amputation in severe cases. Proper management involves a combination of self-care practices and professional interventions.

One of the key reasons for managing diabetic foot calluses is to reduce the risk of developing foot ulcers. Calluses can create areas of high pressure on the foot, which can lead to breakdowns in the skin. When these breakdowns occur, there is an increased risk of infection and slow healing due to reduced blood flow. By effectively managing calluses, the risk of developing ulcers and subsequent complications can be significantly reduced.

Additionally, managing diabetic foot calluses can improve overall comfort and mobility. Calluses can cause discomfort, pain, and changes in gait, making it difficult to perform daily activities. By addressing calluses promptly and implementing appropriate treatments, individuals with diabetes can regain comfort and maintain an active lifestyle.

Treating diabetic foot calluses at home

While it is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper treatment, there are some self-care practices that can help manage diabetic foot calluses at home. These practices should be followed under the guidance of a healthcare provider and are not meant to replace professional care. Here are some tips for treating diabetic foot calluses at home:

  1. Proper foot hygiene: Regularly washing and drying the feet can help prevent infections and reduce callus formation. Use a mild soap and warm water, and gently pat the feet dry, paying attention to the areas with calluses.
  2. Moisturizing: Apply a diabetic-friendly moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated and prevent excessive dryness. Avoid applying moisturizer between the toes to prevent fungal infections.
  3. Cushioning pads: Consider using cushioning pads or insoles to reduce pressure on callused areas and provide additional comfort while walking.
  4. Proper footwear: Wear well-fitting shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. Avoid shoes with high heels or narrow toe boxes, as they can increase pressure on the feet.

It is important to note that self-treatment should only be done in conjunction with professional guidance. Consulting a podiatrist is crucial for a comprehensive treatment plan.

Professional treatment options for diabetic foot calluses

In addition to self-care practices, professional treatment options are available for managing and treating diabetic foot calluses. A podiatrist, or foot specialist, can provide expert guidance and recommend appropriate interventions based on the severity of the calluses. Here are some common professional treatment options:

  1. Debridement: A podiatrist can safely remove thickened skin and calluses using specialized tools. This procedure helps reduce pressure and discomfort while promoting healthy skin growth.
  2. Custom orthotics: A podiatrist may recommend custom-made shoe inserts or orthotics to redistribute pressure and provide better support to the feet. These can help prevent callus formation and improve overall foot comfort.
  3. Offloading devices: In severe cases, offloading devices such as walking boots or specialized shoes may be prescribed to reduce pressure on callused areas and promote healing.
  4. Wound care: If a callus has already developed into an ulcer or wound, a podiatrist can provide appropriate wound care treatments to facilitate healing and prevent infection.

Professional treatment options should always be sought under the guidance of a healthcare professional who can assess individual circumstances and provide personalized recommendations.

Best practices for managing and treating diabetic foot calluses

Managing and treating diabetic foot calluses requires a comprehensive approach. Here are some best practices to help effectively manage calluses and reduce the risk of complications:

  1. Regular podiatrist visits: Schedule regular check-ups with a podiatrist who specializes in diabetic foot care. They can assess foot health, address concerns, and provide personalized recommendations.
  2. Never attempt to remove calluses at home: DIY methods can lead to skin damage, infections, and other complications. Always seek professional help for callus removal.
  3. Do not use a medicated liquid corn/callus remover containing salicylic acid. It can cause the skin to break down and cause a wound.
  4. Keep feet clean and dry: Regularly wash and thoroughly dry the feet, paying attention to the areas with calluses. Moisture can contribute to callus formation and increase the risk of infections.
  5. Use diabetic-friendly foot creams: Apply diabetic-friendly foot creams or lotions to keep the skin hydrated and prevent excessive dryness. Avoid applying creams between the toes.
  6. Trim nails carefully: Cut toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. If you have difficulty trimming nails, seek professional help from a podiatrist.
  7. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose well-fitting shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. Avoid shoes with narrow toe boxes or high heels.
  8. Practice regular foot inspections: Check the feet daily for any signs of calluses, redness, or wounds. Promptly address any concerns or changes in foot health.
  9. Avoid walking barefoot: Always wear shoes or slippers, even indoors, to protect the feet from injuries. Check the insides of shoes for foreign objects before putting them on.
  10. Maintain stable blood sugar levels: Good blood sugar control is essential for overall foot health. Monitor blood sugar levels regularly and follow a diabetes management plan.
  11. Stay active: Engage in regular physical activity to improve circulation and promote foot health. Choose low-impact activities and wear appropriate footwear.

By adopting these best practices and making foot care a priority, individuals with diabetes can minimize the risk of developing diabetic foot calluses and other foot-related complications.

A rapid repair moisturizing cream optimized for diabetic skin

SkinIntegra’s Rapid Crack Repair Cream is a novel healing cream that was specifically formulated to address stubborn and painful foot calluses in people with diabetes and mitigate the risk of an infection. Its patented composition is the result of research into all the components of a healthy skin barrier. For that reason, it includes the essential moisturizing and lipid ingredients naturally found in a healthy skin barrier such as urea, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid for moisturizers and essential fatty acids, natural oils and ceramides for lipids. 

In a clinical study, 100% diabetic subjects with dry, cracked skin showed improvement after just one day. 

Rapid Crack Repair Cream  is free of common skin irritants which can cause a reaction and slow the natural healing process in diabetic skin such as fragrances, dyes, parabens and other harsh preservatives, petroleum-based ingredients, and phthalates.

When to seek medical attention for diabetic foot calluses

While self-care practices and professional treatments can effectively manage diabetic foot calluses, there are certain situations where immediate medical attention is necessary. Seek medical help if you experience any of the following:

  1. Signs of infection: If a callus becomes red, swollen, warm to the touch, or starts oozing pus, it may indicate an infection. Prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent further complications.
  2. Non-healing wounds: If a callus develops into an open sore or wound that does not heal within a week, it may require medical intervention.
  3. Increased pain or discomfort: If a callus becomes increasingly painful or causes significant discomfort, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
  4. Changes in foot sensation: If you experience sudden changes in foot sensation, such as numbness, tingling, or loss of feeling, it could indicate nerve damage or other underlying issues that require medical attention.
  5. Any concerns or questions: If you have any concerns or questions about managing or treating diabetic foot calluses, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

Prompt medical attention can help prevent complications and ensure appropriate treatment for diabetic foot calluses.

Conclusion: Taking control of your diabetic foot care

Managing and treating diabetic foot calluses requires a proactive approach and a combination of self-care practices and professional interventions. By understanding the causes and risk factors of diabetic foot calluses, implementing preventive measures, and seeking expert guidance, individuals with diabetes can effectively manage calluses and reduce the risk of complications.

Remember to prioritize foot hygiene, wear appropriate footwear, and never attempt to remove calluses at home. Regular visits to a podiatrist and maintaining stable blood sugar levels are crucial for overall foot health. By following expert advice and adopting best practices for foot care, individuals with diabetes can take control of their foot health and enjoy a better quality of life.

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