• How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

    on May 15th, 2018

Long-term high blood sugar can cause dangerous complications in people with diabetes, and your feet are particularly at risk. Diabetes complications, like foot ulcers, are responsible for nearly 70% of limb amputations in the United States. If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar within the target range your doctor sets for you plays a crucial role in avoiding foot problems. Find out how diabetes affects your feet and what you can do to protect them and live well with diabetes.

Diabetes can damage nerves

Your body relies on glucose to function properly, but damage occurs when it remains in the blood at high levels instead of being transported into the cells. Your nerves are especially vulnerable to damage caused by high blood sugar.

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that results from uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes. It most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. When you have diabetic neuropathy, your body has trouble interpreting signals sent from your nerves to your brain. You may experience numbness, tingling, or pain, and you may lose some sensation in your feet.

How nerve damage affects your feet

It’s important to work closely with a podiatrist to take special care of your feet if you have diabetic neuropathy. The nerve damage sustained with this condition can make it difficult for you to know if you get a cut or sore on your foot. Without realizing it, a small cut can become infected, and you may not feel anything to alert you to a problem. You may even develop a very serious infection that requires amputation of your toe, foot, or lower leg.

Diabetes can reduce circulation

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition where blood vessels become narrow, decreasing circulation to parts of the body, especially the legs and feet. PAD commonly occurs in people with Type 2 diabetes who have high cholesterol. The combination of high blood sugar and elevated cholesterol contributes to PAD development.

Some signs that you have PAD include numbness and tingling in your legs and feet, as well as pain in your calves when you’re walking or exercising that goes away when you rest. The symptoms of PAD aren’t always obvious, making it easy to miss subtle signs. Here at Family Foot & Ankle Center, Dr. LaMour often diagnoses and manages PAD in patients with diabetes.

How reduced circulation harms your feet

Not having enough blood circulating to your feet can make it hard for cuts or infections to heal. It can also make it difficult for diabetic foot ulcers to heal. Foot ulcers are a serious complication of diabetes. These open sores often occur on the ball of the foot or the bottom of the toe.

Reduced blood flowing to your feet increases the risk that a foot ulcer will become infected. If the infection doesn’t heal, it can lead to a type of tissue death called gangrene, which requires immediate care to lower the risk of amputation.

Caring for your feet

Good control of your blood sugar can prevent many diabetes complications, including those that affect your feet. In addition to controlling your blood sugar levels, taking the following steps will help keep your feet healthy:

Dr. LaMour is dedicated to changing lives through excellent foot care. To keep your feet healthy and avoid diabetes-related foot problems, call our office or book online today to schedule a consultation.


You Might Also Enjoy...

Managing Pain With Orthotics

Doctors prescribe orthotics — customized and highly technical shoe inserts — to help manage back, leg, and foot pain. Find out if custom orthotics might be able to bring you relief.

Helpful Tips For Managing Your Bunions

Those fancy, pointy-toed new shoes you bought may look great, but they can be killer for your feet. Most bunions are due to ill-fitting shoes. Luckily, if caught early, bunions can be treated without surgery.

How Lasers Can Help Battle Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus is a common problem in the United States and around the world. It grows underneath the toenails and can cause them to become discolored and brittle. The good news is that a new type of treatment can help.

Why You Should Never Ignore Ingrown Toenails

You put on your shoes in the morning and feel a little tenderness at the edge of your big toenail. Later, you notice the skin around your toenail is red and tender. You probably have an ingrown toenail and should seek medical attention.

3 Surprising Facts about Orthotics

When you suffer from bunions, ulcers, or foot pain, you may think your only options are medications and surgery, but that’s not true. Orthotics offer pain relief and mobility improvement for many foot conditions. To learn more, keep reading!

Our Locations

Choose your preferred location