If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ve probably got a long list of things to worry about. You need to start getting used to a new diet, exercise plan, insulin care, and many other lifestyle-related changes for diabetes care.
Unfortunately, there’s one more thing to add: watching out for possible health complications associated with diabetes. These include nerve damage, kidney damage, eye problems, and even foot problems. In fact, some people learn about their diabetic condition because they experience loss of sensation in their feet.
As podiatrists who deal with feet every day, we encounter many patients with diabetes-related issues.
Here are some ways that your feet can be affected by uncontrolled diabetes:
● Neuropathy – When you have high blood sugar levels, you can develop peripheral nerve damage in your hands and feet. Symptoms can include pain, tingling, numbness, and loss of feeling. Lack of sensation in the extremities mean that injuries can go unnoticed for a while.
● Poor circulation – Diabetes can cause your blood vessels to constrict. This means that necessary nutrients do not freely reach all parts of your body. Fluids can also become trapped in the lower half of your body, causing swelling.
● Skin problems – Diabetic patients often experience dry skin on their feet, which can lead to painful heel fissures. Extreme pressure on certain parts of the feet, like the balls of the feet, can cause calluses to develop. They can become very hard, especially if nerve damage has caused the feet to lose sensation.
● Ulcers – Skin breakdown can occur on the feet where there is repetitive pressure. Nerve damage can prevent you from realizing that there is a wound on your foot and poor circulation can make it harder for the skin to recover.
In very severe cases of diabetic feet that have not been properly taken care of, ulcers can form, which can lead to severe infection. Skin breakdown can cause skin loss, even to the point of showing bone! Eventually, there is a possibility that feet can succumb to gangrene and might even have to be amputated to prevent further damage to spread up the leg.
But don’t worry, we can help you manage your diabetic feet so that we don’t get to that point. Be sure to do self-foot exams often and see your foot doctor regularly. At the first sign of any problematic symptoms, make an appointment with our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group. Our foot doctors can perform a thorough assessment and prescribe tailored treatment plans at our Jonesboro, AR office. Call us at 800-737-3668 today!