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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was diax Fall 2020 with T2. My body is at 67 years of age. My grandfather had diabetes, and my aunt and cousin do. I am very thin, 5'5" female at 110#. The diabetes diax was a great surprise to me, until I remembered my family members who have/had it.

My last A1c in June was 6.6. I am managing my T2 with the way I eat and with pioglitazone for meds. (I got really sick on metformin.) I have other perhaps co-morbid or possibly separate things, such as extreme fatigue and lethargy, and possible depression which my wonderful PCP and I are working on.

I only have a little bit of neuropathy on the balls of my feet which I noticed before my diax, but I didn't know. I have not lost feelings in my feet or anywhere else.

Learning that feet health is so important for people with diabetes, I finally started paying attention to the nasty toenail fungus that I have. I began to treat it with tea tree oil with coconut oil as a carrier. It's going okay, and we can only know that when the nails grow out, but I guess I got carried away with that, and my most recent tea tree oil is a lot stronger than the one I had before. Perhaps my skin has been "burned" in my zeal, which is not uncommon for tea tree oil: That's what I think happened.

Anyway, the skin on my toes is now nasty and red and scaly. There are no open sores that I can see. I'm not sure how to take care of it, or what I should watch for. For now I am just not doing anything for the fungus, but keeping my feet clean and dry. I have not seen a podiatrist, nor has any diabetes specialist that I am in touch with ever mentioned anything about feet.

Any thoughts out there? Photos? Thank you so much!

~Onga
 

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onga, welcome to the site!

Us diabetics are warned about foot issues and it seems you've encountered one or two. Toe fungus, however, is not a common side effect of diabetes beyond it being a problem that can get started before you begin to notice it (due to neuropathy, etc.)

I'd say you're on the right track with keeping your feet clean and dry -- but not too dry. There are over-the-counter medications available for toe fungus; you might want to try one of those instead of the tea tree oil, which, as you've discovered, can be damaging in stronger amounts. You also might want to use a general-purpose moisturizer on your feet -- something your skin will absorb. Do you have a moisturizer you use for your hands?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks again, itissteve. I have a great organic moisturizer that I have used for my skin for many years. I'll check into the OTC fungus stuff, but they always seem to have lots of chemicals that I can't identify.

I don't shower every day because my skin likes it that way. So my attention to my feet is extracurricular, as it were.
 

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Hi Onga, welcome to the forum.

I am guilty of not paying enough attention to my feet. I was told to watch for sores or blisters that you might get and keep a close eye on them and any wounds you might get on them. High BG can cause neuropathy and peripheral artery disease. These may cause you lose feelings that alert you to them and the reduced blood flow makes healing much slower, possibly letting infection set in. I've heard members mention over the years that lowering their BG allowed the neuropathy to slowly subside. Lowering BG also helps promote better healing. I don't know if I've ever been told what to do specifically for treating my feet as a diabetic, but so far I haven't had to know.

How are your BG numbers and what are you eating that is helping control them, if you don't mind me asking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Onga, welcome to the forum.

I am guilty of not paying enough attention to my feet. I was told to watch for sores or blisters that you might get and keep a close eye on them and any wounds you might get on them. High BG can cause neuropathy and peripheral artery disease. These may cause you lose feelings that alert you to them and the reduced blood flow makes healing much slower, possibly letting infection set in. I've heard members mention over the years that lowering their BG allowed the neuropathy to slowly subside. Lowering BG also helps promote better healing. I don't know if I've ever been told what to do specifically for treating my feet as a diabetic, but so far I haven't had to know.

How are your BG numbers and what are you eating that is helping control them, if you don't mind me asking?
Thanks for your response, mbuster!

My BG is rarely above 150 (AACE) when I test. I usually only test to see if something has has spiked me. I am grateful that I can have a taco or a piece of flatbread pizza without a spike, or I'd be missing stuff. My BG, when I test, has never been above 180 (ADA). When I've eaten carbs, I like to see it at 140 or less (Blood Sugar 101). I also do a poke every couple of days for fasting BG: It's rarely above 120. I have never seen my BG above 200.

My diabetes specialist talks about how the A1c is the gold standard about what is going on. On Medicare, I can only get that every 93 days (which seems short-sighted to me.) Since the specialist told me about her thoughts about A1c, I haven't been as diligent at poking as I once was because what's the point? I do poke after I've eaten carbs just to see how they affect my body.

Many years ago I wanted to lose my menopause weight so I chose the Atkins WOE. I lost 25 pounds with that, have kept it off, mostly by LC eating which agrees with me.

I rarely eat sugar, although once every few months I will indulge in a small slice of morning bun or apple fritter or kringle. Those things are just not my things, though, so it's comfortable. I don't care about pasta or breads so not eating them is not a hardship. Sometimes a dish calls for pasta or rice, so I just use rice cauliflower or leave it out. Or eat a very small portion.

I am grateful that my body is so small because that means that my stomach is also small, so there are no hardships on eating small portions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I'm understanding it that the biggest thing about feet is neuropathy, that when you might get a cut or injury you might not notice it if you are numb? Then it can take a long time to heal, if ever. Infection.

(My little neurapathy can certainly sense even a pin prick, so I guess I'm good there.)

So I'm understanding that scaly skin on the toes is not a big concern? Also, that toenail fungus can take even long to heal with diabetes?

I do not pay much attention to my feet, but, I don't go barefoot anymore.

Thank you! for your responses. Not once has my diabetes specialist asked about my feet. That's kinda a yikes.
 

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The neuropathy is dangerous because incidents that most people would recognize and attend to promptly don't get noticed until they're more serious. As an example, my father (a long-term diabetic) once stepped on a shard of glass on the kitchen floor and did not notice it until serious infection set in. People without neuropathy likely would have felt the glass soon enough to treat it without significant issues. My dad? The infection eventually cost him a toe.

We're not doctors here so we cannot offer medical advice. But I can tell you that, in the winter, my feet get kind of rough from the drier air and from walking on carpet. I notice that fairly quickly and can moisturize so the scaliness does not progress into cracked skin and lesions. So my experience tells me that the scaly skin can be a reaction to outside conditions and is not a serious issue if you can treat the skin back to normal.

The fungus that takes longer to heal? Infections just tend to take longer to heal on diabetics. I don't have direct experience with toenail fungus but I would recommend that if healing seems to take much longer than you think it should, I would contact my primary care professional about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The neuropathy is dangerous because incidents that most people would recognize and attend to promptly don't get noticed until they're more serious. As an example, my father (a long-term diabetic) once stepped on a shard of glass on the kitchen floor and did not notice it until serious infection set in. People without neuropathy likely would have felt the glass soon enough to treat it without significant issues. My dad? The infection eventually cost him a toe.

We're not doctors here so we cannot offer medical advice. But I can tell you that, in the winter, my feet get kind of rough from the drier air and from walking on carpet. I notice that fairly quickly and can moisturize so the scaliness does not progress into cracked skin and lesions. So my experience tells me that the scaly skin can be a reaction to outside conditions and is not a serious issue if you can treat the skin back to normal.

The fungus that takes longer to heal? Infections just tend to take longer to heal on diabetics. I don't have direct experience with toenail fungus but I would recommend that if healing seems to take much longer than you think it should, I would contact my primary care professional about it.
Thank you itissteve.

My neuropathy seems to be minimal, so I don't have worries there so much. As a matter for fact, my husband is a guitar player and he often changes his strings in our living room or in the big bedroom. I immediately felt it when I (unusually barefoot) stepped on a piece of guitar string on the rug: It did not draw blood.

Thanks. I understand that no one on this forum is a medical professional, and I don't expect that. I just find that the attention and information from my medical professionals is severely lacking, so I appreciate that I can communicate with actual people with this diabetes to learn about their experiences. I take it all with a grain of salt.
 

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I just find that the attention and information from my medical professionals is severely lacking, so I appreciate that I can communicate with actual people with this diabetes to learn about their experiences. I take it all with a grain of salt.
Thank you. That's why we're here. 🙂 Many of us can relate to the necessity of being our own advocates, asking the questions and, sometimes, pursuing the answers.
 

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I treat my foot successfully for infection with lavender oil! I do think it is important to keep after the red scaley skin, because it cracks if it goes too long and that can create issues.

Definitely try a few drops of straight lavender oil until the skin is clear.
 

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I've been a diabetic for twenty-five years. I've suffered from severe neuropathy in my feet as a result of diabetes. For years, it's kept me up most nights with horrible cramps and pains, and since it's caused by damaged nerves, there was nothing I could do.
One of my clients in the medical field made me a pair of insoles with silver ion fabric. I became their test subject. Within three days, my pain lessened—and within a week, it was almost gone.
For three years now, I no longer have to cope with neuropathic pain, and I sleep without waking up to unbearable pain.
I wear these silver ion insoles in my shoes and slippers.
The insoles are antibacterial and antifungal so they protect me completely.
 

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Some diabetic neuropathy can be healed by getting your BG under control and keeping below 140 mg/dL, some have said keeping below 120 mg/dL (6.7 mmol/L) is what helped them. It is not an overnight turn around, but with persistence and patience it can happen if blood sugars haven't been out the roof causing permanent damage. Wonder if the use of ionic or colloidal silver supplementation would provide benefit.
 
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