Approximately two-thirds of people with diabetes develop some type of nerve damage. Neuropathy, which mainly affects the limbs, is the most common. You are at highest risk of developing neuropathy if you have uncontrolled blood sugar levels for a long time. Your age and the number of years you have had diabetes also play a role in whether you develop diabetic neuropathy and the severity of the nerve damage.
How Peripheral Neuropathy Affects the Feet and Legs
As the most common type of neuropathy in diabetics, peripheral neuropathy typically affects the feet and legs first followed by the arms and hands. Common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in the feet include:
- Burning, stabbing, or shooting pain
- Tingling sensation best described as the feeling of pins and needles against your feet
- Sensitivity to touch
- Sores and ulcers that heal slowly and can lead to other complications
- Intolerance to hot and cold temperatures
- Problems with balance and coordination
People with diabetes are also more prone to developing toenail fungus, cuts, blisters, and calluses on the feet. Due to diminished sensations in your feet from the peripheral neuropathy, you may not notice these problems until you have developed an infection. Left untreated, each of these diabetic foot problems can cause an ulcer that could lead to amputation of a foot or lower leg.
Prevent Serious Diabetic Foot Problems by Working with an Experienced Podiatrist
Routine foot check-ups are vital when you have diabetes. Dr. Jeffrey Lamour will assess your feet at each visit and recommend appropriate treatment for any problems he detects. He can also recommend custom orthotic footwear and provide you with tips to properly care for your feet at home. With something as important as your mobility at stake, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of quality care from your local podiatrist in Austin, TX.