Diabetes and Your Feet
Diabetes is a lifelong chronic disease that is caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. It can also decrease your body's ability to fight off infections, which is especially harmful in your feet. When diabetes is not properly controlled, damage can occur to the organs and impairment of the immune system is also likely to occur.
With damage to your nervous system, which is known in the medical community as peripheral neuropathy, you may not be able to feel your feet properly. This can cause sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot to be impaired, leading to dryness of the skin, cracks, etc. This diminished sensation can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and other activities. This can even lead to the breakdown of the skin of the foot, which often causes sores to develop. If you have diabetes, it is important to prevent foot problems before they occur, recognize problems early, and seek the right treatment when a problem does happen.
Diabetic Complications and Your Feet
Several risk factors can increase your chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet starting with poorly fitting shoes. If you have red spots, sore spots, blisters, corns, calluses, or consistent pain associated with wearing shoes, new proper fitted shoes must be obtained immediately after appropriate measurement and assessment of your feet. Additionally, if you have common foot abnormalities such as flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes, prescription shoes or orthotics from your podiatrist may be necessary to further protect your feet from other damage.
People who have long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes are also at risk for having damage to the nerves in their feet. If you have nerve damage, you may not be able to feel your feet normally and you may also be unable to sense the position of your feet and toes while walking and balancing, which can cause even more harm to your feet.
Normal nerves perception allows people to sense if their shoes are too tight or if their shoes are rubbing on the feet too much. With diabetes, you may not be able to properly sense minor injuries, such as cuts, scrapes and blisters-all signs of abnormal wear, tear, and foot strain. The following can also compromise the health of your feet:
- Poor circulation
- Trauma to the foot
Diabetes can be extremely dangerous to your feet. The most common contributing factor to foot/toe amputation in people with Diabetes, is diminished nerve perception and poor circulation. You can avoid serious problems such as losing a toe, foot, or leg by following proper prevention techniques offered by your podiatrist. Remember, prevention is the key to saving your feet and eliminating pain.