Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become dangerously high. Leaving your blood glucose untamed can set off a slew of problems, including foot ulcers. One of the most severe outcomes could be needing a foot amputation. Fortunately, a “smelly” sign known as bromodosis could ring alarm bells.
Worryingly, unhealed ulcers and foot infections are the leading cause of diabetes related amputations, with diabetic foot ulcers preceding more than 80 percent of amputations.
Bromodosis is one of the red flag signs that could break the news of a foot ulcer.
This condition, also known as smelly feet, describes a foot odour typically triggered by a build-up of sweat and bacteria.
According to Foot and Ankle Associates, once a foot ulcer starts festering, it could leave you with this smelly sign.
In case you’re not aware, foot ulcers are a patch of broken-down skin usually located on the lower leg or foot, according to Diabetes.co.uk.
When your blood sugar levels become too high or they regularly fluctuate, the skin that would otherwise heal may not be able to properly repair itself because of the nerve damage.
This means that even a mild injury could spur on the process leading to a foot ulcer.
One of the first warning signs of a foot ulcer is discharge from your foot, which might stain your socks and be smelly.
The NHS urges looking out for any unpleasant smell and strange odour from one or both of your feet.
Other early signs to watch out for include any blisters, unusual swelling, colour changes, irritation, and feeling unwell with fever and flu-like symptoms.
Any of these warning signs should be taken seriously if you have diabetes and checked with an expert straight away.
The health service states: “You should contact one of your diabetes care team the same day. If your GP or podiatry clinic is closed, contact the Out of Hours service.
“Tell them you have diabetes and that your foot ulcer has changed.”
While less serious foot ulcers have a fair chance of healing with treatment, some people with diabetes might need amputation as the end result of a foot ulcer, according to Diabetes.co.uk.
What’s worse, someone with the blood sugar condition is 20 times more likely to experience an amputation than someone without it, Diabetes UK explains.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to minimise your risk of this scary outcome.
Washing your feet everyday with lukewarm water and soap is a good start but you should also moisturise your feet with the exception of toes and keep your nails a reasonable length, Diabetes.co.uk advises.
Furthermore, you can lower your risk of potential damage by avoiding walking barefoot and wearing correctly fitting footwear.
Diabetes UK adds: “It is also crucial that people with diabetes know how important it is to seek medical attention if they spot any signs of foot problems.
“A matter of hours can make the difference between losing a foot, and keeping a foot.”