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How Can Diabetes Affect Your Feet?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body maintains high sugar levels for prolonged periods of time. Because of this, damage in your nerve endings and blood vessels are more likely to occur, which causes nerve pain, poor circulation and impaired healing.
More than half of the people with diabetes experience neuropathy, or nerve damage that causes weakness, numbness and pain in the hands and feet. If you don’t feel a cut on your foot or throbbing pain when you stubbed your toe, then you may have nerve damage. It doesn’t matter which type of diabetes you have, you could still be affected by diabetic foot neuropathy.
Diabetes causes blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden. This makes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to and from tissues, including transporting cells that help fight infection and repair damaged tissues, less efficient. Since the feet are the farthest away from the heart, they are the most prone to poor circulation. If you do have poor circulation, which is more likely for people with diabetes, your body’s natural healing process will be much slower.
Why Is Extra Foot Care Necessary When You’re Diabetic?
Taking care of your feet when you have diabetes can prevent serious foot problems, such as calluses; dry, cracked skin; and ulcers. If left untreated, these complications can lead to an infection, causing the skin and tissue to die. If this happens, then amputation is the only way to stop the infection from spreading further. We can help you monitor your feet to prevent your diabetes from taking a limb. At our Valparaiso and Portage office, advanced treatment options are available to improve wound healing and prevent amputations.
When Should You See a Specialist?
Without treatment, plantar fasciitis can become a chronic condition, inhibiting your ability to maintain a normal level of activity. In addition, heel pain can cause you to develop foot, knee, hip or back problems because the pain may cause you to change the way you walk.
Care and Treatment for Diabetic Feet
After examination, South Shore Foot and Ankle’s board-certified foot and ankle specialists will review results with you and discuss your treatment options. The doctor may prescribe treatments that range from foot exercises to massaging feet with a diabetic foot cream, physical therapy, using a foot roller, supplements or medications. Your doctor may also recommend cushioned, supportive shoes and inserts or support hose. In some cases, surgical procedures to improve circulation may be advised.