Diabetes is a systemic condition that effects many different parts of the body.
In the feet, diabetes can cause:
numbness and loss of sensation
reduced blood supply to the feet
increased risk of infection
slower healing of wounds
Poorly controlled diabetes can result in reduced blood supply to the feet. The increased sugar levels can cause arteries to harden, which prevents the vessel from adequately pushing blood to the feet.
Decreased blood supply may result in slower healing, reduced ability to fight infections and ulceration.
Signs you may have reduced blood supply to your feet include:
- Calf pain when walking
- Pain in your feet or toes when resting
- Changes in your skin colour to blue or red
- Cold feet or sudden skin dryness with callous formation
It is important that you are assessed by a Podiatrist, GP or Diabetes Educator if you are worried about the blood supply to your feet.
Poor blood glucose control may damage the nerves in your feet. Once these nerves have been damaged it is impossible to reverse. This condition is called peripheral neuropathy.
Signs that you may have peripheral neuropathy include:
- Numbness in your feet or toes
- Burning pain
- Coldness in your feet
If you have peripheral neuropathy you have an increased risk of injury, as you may not feel pain. It is important to properly check your feet to ensure you have no cuts or abrasions. Any cuts that are not treated may not heal, resulting in ulceration and possibly amputation.
It is important that you are assessed by a Podiatrist, GP or Diabetes Educator if you are worried about the nerves in your feet.
For more information on diabetes and your feet, follow the links below.
Inspect your feet every day, including the bottoms of your feet and between your toes. If you notice any cuts or blisters, apply betadine and cover the wound.
Wash your feet daily
Make sure you cut your nails straight across, and avoid cutting down the sides
Always wear footwear
Before putting on your shoes check there are no pebbles or other objects inside.
Use moisturiser daily to prevent callous