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Diabetic Feet: Diabetes Foot Pain

Updated on June 12, 2012

People with diabetes who have blood glucose levels that are frequently higher than they should be are at high risk for diabetes complications. Some common complications affect diabetic feet. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can cause diabetes foot pain or a lack of feeling in the feet. The neuropathy and other diabetic foot problems can become severe and even result in amputations.

Diabetic neuropathy is changes in the nerve and the ability to sense pain caused by high blood glucose levels. The nerve damage most commonly affects the feet, but it can affect any part of the body. Some people with neuropathy experience pain sensations without any identifiable cause like an injury. The person with diabetic neuropathy may experience sharp pain in the feet from the slightest touch or normal pressure from shoes or socks.

Diabetic feet often are affected by neuropathy that prevents the person from feeling pain. While some people may think the lack of pain would be a good thing, this condition can be problematic. The diabetic person may not feel if there is a foreign object in the shoe that is causing a sore on the foot. The person may develop a cut or a blister on the foot and not realize it.

Because many diabetics have poor blood circulation, a sore on the foot can become a serious problem. The lack of blood supply means that the sore may not heal properly. The slow healing sores can become infected or even gangrene. People with diabetes are susceptible to infections since high blood sugar levels can encourage the growth of germs.

Infected sores on the feet are a cause of medically necessary amputations for diabetic feet. Many diabetics need to have toes, parts of the foot, or even the whole leg amputated due to infected or gangrene sores.

Everyone with diabetes should check their feet at least once a day for any sores or blisters. Whenever the diabetic person notices a sore on the foot, the doctor should be notified. The person must be proactive about having the sore treated to increase the chances that it will heal without serious complications.

Wearing shoes that fit properly is critically important for diabetic feet. Diabetes can cause changes in the shape of the feet. This may cause the feet to rub against certain parts of the shoe which can lead to sores. Orthopedic shoes or inserts may be necessary to help prevent sores and diabetic foot pain.

Controlling diabetes and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is essential for preventing diabetic complications. In addition to diabetic feet problems, complications include glaucoma, kidney disease, cataracts, heart attacks, strokes, digestion problems, and hearing loss. If blood sugar levels are not being kept at a healthy level, the person should discuss diet and medication options for getting the blood sugar levels under control.


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