4 Consequences of Diabetes for Your Feet
Our brains are programmed to like sweetness, but too much of it can cause trouble. Diabetes can happen during pregnancy (gestational) or because you don’t produce any—or sufficient quantities of—insulin (Type 1 or type 2 diabetes), and can cause issues throughout your body. We want to focus on problems with feet that are caused by diabetes, which can take on several forms:
Poor circulation. When sugar is not processed properly, the blood vessel walls can be damaged. This makes it easier for plaque to build up along the sides and slows down your blood flow. As a result, cells in your feet don’t get the nutrients and oxygen they need and can’t function properly.
Neuropathy. Nerve damage can mean your feet lose sensation. You can’t feel burning or icy temps, or may not know it when you get a cut or blister, or when a bone breaks. You keep walking on them, allowing the injuries to get worse. This can lead to open sores or even collapse of your foot structure.
Skin problems. That same nerve damage may mean your sweat glands are not working properly to moisturize your feet. Dry skin can lead to thick calluses and cracks that are painful, bleed, and become infected. You may also find it harder to fight off athlete’s foot infection or toenail fungus.
Foot Ulcers. These open sores that don’t heal often occur on the bottom of the foot, where walking puts pressure on the soft tissue and the skin becomes damaged. Open wounds are the bane of diabetic feet, causing pain and limiting your ability to walk. They may also lead infection, and possible tissue death (gangrene), which may require an amputation.
Diabetic feet are vulnerable, but the foot doctors at Far West Podiatric Medical Group can help you ward off or treat these problems with prevention tips and focused treatments. We are an essential part of your diabetes care team, so call our office in Hawthorne at (310) 675-0900 today for an appointment to help keep your feet healthy despite diabetes.