When to Worry About a Hangnail with Diabetes

When to Worry About a Hangnail with Diabetes

You’ve probably gotten a few dozen hangnails in your life and never thought twice about them. But now that you have diabetes, you shouldn’t shirk nail problems so quickly. 

Our team at Advanced Vascular Solutions has seen firsthand how a seemingly simple problem like a hangnail can become a major issue. That’s why we vascular specialists are on high alert when our diabetic patients get a hangnail (and the like). 

Here’s a closer look at when you should be worried as well. 

How diabetes changes the game

When you have diabetes, your risk for other health complications like diabetic neuropathy skyrockets. Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve damage condition that mainly affects your hands, feet, legs, and arms. 

It can cause you to lose feeling in your extremities and symptoms like tingling, burning, and pain. 

Diabetes also restricts blood flow and circulation, significantly slowing your body’s ability to heal itself. 

Lack of sensation combined with slower healing is a recipe for disaster, especially where your feet are concerned. 

Your feet take the brunt of the action every day, and hangnails can occur at the hands of ill-fitting shoes, improper grooming techniques, pressure from movement, and harsh climates — even your genetics can make you more likely to get a hangnail. 

If your diabetes has progressed to the point where you can’t feel the discomfort or pain a hangnail causes and you can’t heal quickly, a simple hangnail can become incredibly dangerous. 

The problem with hangnails 

Hangnails are notorious for becoming infected, and an infection allowed to progress incognito can turn into a foot ulcer or a slow-healing wound. 

That’s why we recommend knowing the warning signs of infection. An infected hangnail is usually red, swollen, and tender. It may also produce pus or form a blister.  

Sometimes, when the infection travels down into your nail bed, your nail changes color or becomes weak. 

These are all signs of a hangnail gone wrong. In those cases, you may benefit from our advanced wound care. We specialize in helping diabetic patients address rampant infections and slow-healing wounds with treatments that eradicate the infection, repair damage, and even help improve healing and circulation. 

Protecting your feet in the future

You may not have given your feet much thought before, but foot care has to become a top priority after your diabetes diagnosis. 

You should inspect your feet daily and keep them clean and dry. You’re the first line of defense against potentially dangerous foot problems, so keep a sharp eye out and make plans to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Never perform bathroom surgery on any type of nail problem. Instead, consult an expert podiatrist or see a recommended nail salon for nail care. 

We also recommend wearing comfortable shoes that provide adequate space for your toes. 

There’s no reason to leave your foot and overall health up to chance. If you notice an infection has set in, don’t wait to call our experts at Advanced Vascular Solutions. You can request an appointment online or over the phone today. We serve patients in the Melbourne and Sebastian, Florida, area.

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