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, you may not be able to feel your feet properly. Normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is impaired, which can lead to an 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

When it comes to your feet, there are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet. First of all, poorly fitting shoes are one of the biggest culprits of diabetic foot complications. 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. 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, which is known in the medical community as peripheral neuropathy. 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 allow 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
  • Infections
  • Smoking

Diabetes can be extremely dangerous to your feet, so take precautions now. 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.

The following is a list of the most common conditions that we treat in our office:

Ankle Sprain

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, often resulting in one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle to be stretched or torn. If not properly treated, ankle sprains could develop into...
Athlete's Foot

Athlete's Foot

A chronic infection caused by various types of fungus, Athlete's foot is often spread in places where people go barefoot such as public showers or swimming pools. The condition ranges from mild scaling and itching to painful inflammation and...
Bunions

Bunions

A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). Bunions form when the toe moves out of place.
Corns

Corns

Corns and calluses are protective layers of compacted, dead skin cells. They are caused by repeated friction from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe. Corns ordinarily form on the toes and calluses on the soles of...
Diabetes and Your Feet

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...
Flat Feet

Flat Feet

Flat feet are generally associated with pronation, a leaning inward of the ankle bones toward the center line. Shoes of adults and children who pronate, when placed side by side, will lean toward each other...
Hammertoes

Hammertoes

Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third, fourth, and fifth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, causing it to resemble a hammer.
Heel Pain

Heel Pain

Also known as heel spur syndrome, the condition is often successfully treated with conservative measures, such as cortisone injections, night splints, shoe modification and orthotics. When conservative measures do not resolve the issue surgery can...
In-grown Toenail

In-grown Toenail

In-grown toe nails can affect individuals of all ages, including young children, and are most often experienced in the big toe. They occur when a sharp corner of the toenail digs into the skin at the end of or side of the toe.