It's no secret that having diabetes puts you at great risk of foot problems — but why? If you've ever wondered why diabetes patients have foot problems or if you are curious about what foot problems are caused by diabetes, this is the resource for you. Keep reading to learn more about the link between diabetes and foot problems.
Does diabetes cause foot problems?
Yes. Foot problems are one of the most common complications of diabetes — according to the CDC, about 50% of people with diabetes are likely to experience nerve damage, especially in the feet and lower legs. This nerve damage can result in a variety of foot problems, from seemingly normal corns and calluses to dangerous infections and even, in some cases, the need for amputation.
Why diabetics have foot problems
Diabetic foot problems are caused by drastic fluctuations in blood glucose levels, which can damage your nerves and blood vessels over time. This condition, called diabetic neuropathy, is the root cause of many of the most common diabetic foot problems. As diabetic neuropathy progresses, it can lead to loss of feeling in the feet, which can, in turn, result in other serious issues.
What kind of foot problems do diabetics have?
People living with diabetes can develop many different types of foot problems throughout their lives. Here are four of the most common diabetes-related foot problems.
Wounds, cuts, and ulcers
If you are unable to feel pain due to diabetic neuropathy, it can be difficult to tell when you have an ulcer, cut, blister, or other wounds on your foot. Not only is this dangerous because an untreated wound can lead to an infection, but wounds are also generally slower to heal in those who have diabetes.
If a wound becomes infected, it will have a difficult time healing due to a lack of blood flow to the feet. When this happens, an infection can quickly become gangrene, which occurs when the tissues and skin in a certain area start to die.
In extreme cases, such as untreated gangrene, amputation may be necessary. The need for amputation is often a direct result of poorly managed diabetes and a lack of sensation caused by neuropathy. Diabetics are much more likely to have an amputation of a lower limb than a non-diabetic person.
Falls, trips, and other accidents
Once diabetic neuropathy has progressed to a certain stage, patients will experience chronic numbness and loss of feeling in their lower legs and feet. This can lead to a greater risk of injuries from a fall or trip.
How to prevent and manage diabetes-related foot problems
Just because someone has diabetes doesn't mean they're going to experience all — or any — of the above foot problems. There are plenty of things that diabetic patients can do to help prevent foot problems from occurring:
- Check your feet every day and be on the lookout for any cuts, swelling, discoloration, warts, etc.
- Wash your feet regularly and be sure that they're dry to prevent infection
- Trim your toenails straight across or visit a podiatrist to have them trimmed for you
- Protect your feet from intense temperatures; don't walk barefoot on hot or cold surfaces
- Keep your feet elevated as much as possible when sitting or lying down
- Stay physically active to keep blood flowing
- Protect your feet with the proper shoes and socks
- Visit your doctor for regular foot checkups
If you're concerned about diabetic foot problems, one of the best things you can do is to protect your feet with the right socks. Here at Viasox, we're proud to provide a variety of high-quality non-binding diabetic socks and compression socks, perfect for any closet. Visit us online today to shop our entire collection or get in touch with one of our friendly team members.