How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Diabetes is an increasing problem around the world, and more than 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with the condition. In addition to causing other health issues, diabetes can lead to serious problems with your feet.

Because nerve damage caused by diabetes commonly affects your feet, make sure you’re receiving adequate diabetic foot care from expert podiatrists like the team at Michfoot Surgeons PC. Many of the foot problems associated with diabetes are preventable with proper care and attention.

Why do diabetics have more problems with their feet?

People with diabetes have more blood sugar (glucose) circulating in their blood. Continued high levels of blood glucose can damage many parts of your body, including the nerve endings in your feet. This nerve damage is responsible for numerous health complications.

What are common foot problems with diabetes?

Diabetic nerve damage can cause a loss of feeling in your feet, so when you sustain an injury or have another foot problem, you may not feel changes occurring. That’s why regular foot exams with a trained podiatrist are so important. Diabetics experience foot problems more often than people without diabetes. Following are some common problems.

Athlete’s foot

This a fungus that thrives in wet places such as public pools and locker rooms or sweaty socks. The germs enter your body through cracks in your skin and can cause an infection. Medicated creams or pills can kill the bacteria and clear up the infection.

Fungal nail infections

Fungal infections can cause your toenails to turn opaque or yellowish-brown, get thicker and more brittle, or even fall off. Antifungal medications can clear up these infections.

Corns and calluses

These conditions are caused by areas of damaged tissue. This may be a result of poorly fitting shoes or an uneven distribution of your weight. If you have diabetes, you should see a doctor once corns or calluses develop. Do not try to remove them yourself.

Ingrown toenails

These can occur if your toenails aren’t trimmed properly or if you have repeated impact on the nails, such as during running. If you get an ingrown toenail that becomes infected, it needs a doctor’s care.

What are the more serious foot problems with diabetes?

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications in feet. This occurs when your diabetes is poorly controlled and it damages the nerves in your feet. The nerve damage affects your foot muscles, which can cause you to put too much pressure on certain parts of your feet.

With diabetic neuropathy, you may not be able to feel your feet, which puts you at greater risk of getting an injury without being aware of it. If your foot becomes injured and you don’t know it, it can become infected.

Another foot problem people with diabetes may experience is peripheral vascular disease. This is a sign that diabetes is negatively affecting your blood flow. Poor blood flow can cause foot ulcers. Foot ulcers begin with sores that don’t heal. Left untreated, foot ulcers can get worse, leading to bone infections (osteomyelitis), gangrene, or even amputation.

How to prevent problems with your feet

Controlling your blood sugar — keeping your levels stable and within a healthy range — is the best way to prevent problems with your feet. Once nerve damage occurs, it is not reversible. You can only try to avoid further damage.

Examine your feet as thoroughly you can every day. Make sure your doctors can examine your feet when you have regular check-ups, and see a podiatrist like the experts at Michfoot Surgeons PC for foot problems that don’t go away on their own. Call or schedule an appointment online today. Your feet will thank you for it.

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