Foot pain is one of the adverse side effects of diabetes. For this reason, foot care is integral to diabetic care and management. Unattended feet can become problematic and painful, sometimes, leading to amputation as well. Depending on the extent of pain and damage, medications can be given although the first line of action is to control the blood glucose level.
Treatment for Diabetic Foot Pain
Diabetic foot pain treatment involves the following things:
Control of Blood Glucose Level
The primary treatment for diabetic foot pain is to bring blood glucose levels within the normal range. This is essential to hinder further damage to the nerves and related parts. Although blood glucose control can worsen symptoms initially, over time, this helps in reducing the symptoms. Problems with the feet may also force you to consult a foot care specialist depending on the damage.
Medical Treatment for Foot Pain
Medication can be administered for wounded or infected feet or if the doctor suspects risk of infection. If antibiotics are prescribed, take the entire course even though positive results can appear within two to three days only. For treating painful diabetic neuropathy, Cymbalta and Lyrica are the FDA-approved medications. In case of a severe infection, the doctor can advice hospitalization as giving pills may seem ineffective.
There can be a single dose of antibiotics as a shot or IV dose before starting pills. Diabetic foot treatment can also be done at several wound care centers which focus on the lower extremity wounds and ulcers. Debridement of the wound through surgery, improvement of circulation and special dressings can be some of the other treatment procedures.
Depending on the need, a combination of treatments can also be implemented. In some cases where there is a bone-related problem, flat feet, arthritis, etc. you may need to consult a specialist as an orthopedic surgeon. Besides taking care of your existing problem, the specialist can also provide an excellent resource for how to care for your feet on daily basis. Diabetic foot pain treatment may also be dealt with shoe inserts, removal of calluses, etc.
Care Through Lifestyle Changes
There are many things which aid diabetes foot pain treatment and delay worsening of the damage. Routine examination of the feet helps identify any damage even though it is trivial. In case of any injury, attend to it immediately as even a small injury can create havoc for the foot. Use cotton or woolen socks as elastic socks (and even hosiery) can hinder circulation. Besides, choose comfortable shoes to protect the feet. If you are unsure of the fitness of your footwear, consult a podiatrist.
Regular exercising can keep bones and joints in good health. It is good to lower blood sugar and consequently manage diabetes complications like foot pain. High impact exercises may not suit all, particularly when you have lost sensation in the feet. Consult the doctor when adopting an exercise program.
Keep nails trimmed to avoid damaging them. Apply a water-based moisturizer regularly to prevent cracking but avoid using it between your toes. Smoking adversely affects blood vessels by increasing the damage already caused.
Self Care through Other Things
Diabetic foot pain can be treated through other ways depending on the symptoms. Self care through warm baths can relieve you of the pain. Frequent walking can also soothe peripheral nerve pain. If you do not have cuts or wounds, bathing and walking may be helpful in reducing foot pain.
A suited diet can also take care of foot (and nerve) pain by emphasizing on blood sugar control. Try to keep track of what you eat, when and how much you eat. Remembering everything can be cumbersome, so concentrate on the major factors contributing to good glucose control.
Sometimes, creams and over-the-counter pain suppressers can help. Lidocaine or capsaicin containing creams may prove useful in controlling pain to certain extent. As far as over the-counter medications are concerned, ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin may be useful. But remember that over-the-counter pain medicines may not work well can pose (serious) side effects as well.
Using Antidepressants to Relieve Pain
Antidepressants may also relieve diabetic nerve pain. Even if there is absence of clinical depression in a patient, doctors may prescribe antidepressants to cater to foot pain and other nerve pain.
Antidepressants have the ability to deal with both pain and depression and can be used as a part of diabetic foot pain treatment.
Switching Therapies for better Control
Changing a therapy can, sometimes, be a helpful technique in combating foot and nerve pain. A study pointed out that insulin injections used for glucose control can reduce the likelihood of neuropathy.
Therapies like acupuncture and anodyne therapy can also relieve diabetic foot pain. Another technique which can be helpful in diabetes foot pain treatment is the Dellon procedure. It is a surgical decompression of multiple peripheral nerves. Administering vitamin B12 can also be helpful, although it has its limitation(s).