Diabetes causes a condition of painful nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy can affect your entire body, but your legs and feet are parts of your body that are more prone to serious health problems. Damage to the nerves can cause the loss of feeling in your feet, making it difficult to detect extreme temperatures and pain as easily or readily as someone who does not have diabetes.
This is why diabetics get infections so frequently from something as simple as a small cut or blister on the foot. When a person is unable to detect a foot wound, it can easily become infected, leading to more serious complications and even amputation in the most severe cases. With that being said, understanding the connection between foot care and diabetes is important to avoid more serious health problems. If you are diabetic, it is important talk to your podiatrist about the best ways to care for your feet.
What is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?
Typically, in diabetic peripheral neuropathy of the feet, you will begin to notice sensory changes, such as numbness or tingling in your toes. Initially, these symptoms may come and go, but in time they will be constant. When experiencing these symptoms, they may interfere with your sleep, or cause you to awaken from your sleep. Over a period of time, these disturbances may cause a loss of feeling that may even hinder your ability to detect the tightness of your shoes. Even a pebble in your shoe can go unnoticed as time goes on, which can injure your foot.
Neuropathy is the leading cause of ulcers or holes that occur in the feet, as well as infections. Additionally, neuropathy is the leading cause of the loss of toes and even amputation in advanced cases. If nerve compression goes untreated, the nerve itself can become deprived of oxygen and nutrients, which cause the nerve to die over time resulting in numb feet. In many patients, surgery can be performed to relieve these various sites of nerve compression in order to relieve the burning, tingling and pain, or even to restore sensation to your feet in some cases.
Prevent Complications of Diabetes
If you have diabetes, it’s crucial to examine your feet every day and after every injury, regardless of how minor you may think the injury is. If you notice redness, swelling, persistent pain, numbness, tingling or any other unusual signs on any part of your foot, call your podiatrist immediately, as this could signify serious health problems.
We also recommend that, if you have diabetes, you should visit us for annual checkups. We work with you to detect signs of changes, broken skin or ulcers that can be detrimental to the health of your feet and body. At our practice we can also check your blood circulation, identify loss of sensation or detect areas of high pressure - all of which require professional medical attention.
Early detection, simple care and regular inspections can go a long way to avoid serious foot complications related to diabetes. Diabetes is serious, especially when it comes to your feet. If you have diabetes, talk with your podiatrist about what you can do now to keep your feet safe, strong and healthy.