Diabetes is a recurring disease caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. It can also be particularly harmful in your feet as it decreases your body’s ability to fight off infections. When diabetes is not suitably under control, the risk of organ damage occurs, as well as impairment of the immune system.
When the nervous system becomes harmed, you may not be able to properly feel your feet. 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 critical 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
There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet. Poorly fitting shoes are one of the biggest culprits of diabetic foot complications. If you notice red spots, sore spots, blisters, corns, calluses, or consistent pain associated with wearing shoes, new properly fitted shoes must be purchased and worn 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.
In the medical community, a condition known as peripheral neuropathy, damage to the nerves in the feet, is another risk for those with established or poorly controlled diabetes. Nerve damage may prevent you from feeling your feet normally. 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. Diabetes, however, may prevent you from properly sensing minor injuries such as cuts, scrapes and blisters, which are 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 severely dangerous to your feet, so please take the proper precautions now. Serious problems such as losing a toe, foot, or leg are avoidable by taking proper action and following proper prevention techniques offered by your podiatrist. Please remember that prevention is the key to saving your feet and eradicating pain.