Diabetes

People with diabetes can develop many different problems like:

  • Neuropathy
  • Skin Changes
  • Calluses
  • Foot Ulcers
  • Poor Circulation
  • Amputation

Most often, people with diabetes can get nerve damage, or neuropathy, that causes tingling, pain (burning, or itching), or weakness in the foot.

Neuropathy:

  • Diabetic nerve damage can also lessen your ability to feel pain, heat, and cold.
  • Loss of feeling: may not feel like a foot injury
  • Nerve damage can also lead to changes in the shape of your feet and toes

Skin Changes

  • Feet may become dry, peel, and crack
  • Nerve that controls the oil and moisture damaged
  • After bathing, dry and seal moisture with a thin coat of plain petroleum jelly, or unscented hand cream
  • No oils or creams between toes, can cause fungal infections
  • Don’t soak feet too long, can dry skin

Calluses

  • Occurs often and builds up faster, especially in high pressure areas under foot
  • If too much callus, you should wear therapeutic shoes and inserts
  • Calluses that are very thick can turn into ulcers (open sores) if not trimmed
  • Never cut yourself, can lead to ulcers and infection
  • Do not remove calluses and corns with chemical agents, can burn skin
  • Pumice stones will keep calluses under control, put lotion on after using pumice stone

Foot Ulcers

  • Occurs on ball of foot or bottom of big toe
  • Healthcare provider checks every ulcer, can lead to infection if not. X-rays of foot to check for no bones infected, clean out dead tissues. Antibiotic will be prescribed after
  • No walking, ulcers can get larger and infection can go deeper into foot. A special shoes, cast, or boot will be provided.
  • If ulcer is not healing, your circulation is poor and you will be referred to a vascular surgeon.
  • Good diabetes control, high blood glucose levels will make it hard to find infection
Diabetes and Your Feet

Poor Circulation

  • Less able to fight infection and to heal
  • Diabetes causes blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden
  • Don’t smoke: makes arteries harden faster
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol must be controlled
  • For cold feet, wear warm socks
  • Pain in calves when walking fast, up a hill, or on a hard surface: Intermittent Claudication condition
  • Exercise is good for poor circulation: increases blood flow in the legs and feet
  • Walk in sturdy, good-fitting, comfortable shoes

Amputation

  • Higher risk with diabetes: Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) reduces blood flow, nerve damage reduces sensation
  • Together, ulcers and infections can lead to amputations
  • Preventable with regular care and proper footwear
  • Smoking is the worst thing to do with diabetes: affects small blood vessels, decreases blood flow to the feet, and makes wounds heal slowly