What Foot Problems Can Be Caused By Diabetes?
Infections, ulcerations and gangrene are the most common foot problems in those with diabetes. As a result, thousands of diabetic patients a year require amputations. Foot infections are the number one reason for hospitalization of diabetic patients.
Two major complications of the disease are nerve damage and poor circulation. Over time, episodes of elevated blood sugars damage the cells in the body. Damaged nerves and blood vessels lead to changes in sensation and circulation to the feet.
Damaged nerves can cause a variety of sensations, including pain, burning, tingling, and numbness. However, it is the loss of feeling in the feet that is most dangerous. Without the ability to feel pain, small injuries or irritations to the feet can go unnoticed.
Most commonly, it is the area of pressure from a shoe, which is causing blisters, corns and calluses. If not properly treated by a foot specialist, these areas will likely breakdown or ulcerate.
Ulcerations and infection form underneath the callused area. These areas may not be painful due to neuropathy and may look like bruising underneath the callus. The bruising is the progression of the ulceration to deeper layers of the skin.
Poor blood flow diminishes the body’s ability to heal injuries and fight infection.
Don’t deny the seriousness of your disease. A common myth is that those with Type 2 diabetes on oral medication are not subject to the same morbidities as someone who is on insulin. The fact is, that whether you are on insulin or not, diagnosed as a child or an adult, you are at EQUAL risk for developing foot problems that may lead to amputation. That is why everyone with diabetes should learn about their disease and control their blood sugars.
It is estimated that 85 percent of amputations are preventable with education and early intervention. Have regular exams by a foot specialist. Your foot doctor will properly assess your circulation, sensation and footwear. It is important to inspect your feet daily. You may not feel pain, but if you do see any abnormalities, it is time to see your foot specialist. It is very important to seek early treatment, especially if you have a blister, callus or a toenail problem. Even the most minor foot problem can quickly become more serious if untreated.
Do not ignore any problems and do not attempt to treat yourself.