For people living with diabetes, foot pain can become a problem. Diabetic neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage associated with the disease, typically affects the legs and feet.
The peripheral nervous system has a sensory division, which can be severely impacted by uncontrolled high blood glucose levels. As many as half of people with diabetes may be living with neuropathy and experience sensory issues in the lower extremities.
If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, understandably, this may be of concern to you. This article contains tips on how to manage your risks and protect your feet.
Why Does Diabetes Affect the Feet?
Many people living with diabetes see their doctors for foot pain relief. Nerve damage, which can result in a loss of sensation in the feet for some, can also cause significant pain in others. A burning or throbbing sensation is how many diabetics describe their foot pain.
The nerves in the lower extremities are most commonly affected by diabetes, as the peripheral nerves stretch out to the feet. Uncontrolled blood glucose can damage the walls of the blood vessels that supply the nerves in the body. Without proper nutrition, the nerves can become damaged, leading to symptoms.
The most commonly reported symptoms include:
- Pain or increased sensitivity in the feet
- A loss of normal feeling in the feet
- Pins and needles or tingling in the feet
Diabetes can also affect blood circulation in the lower extremities. The loss of sensation combined with poor blood circulation could mean any cut or scrape may not be felt by the individual; slow wound-healing increases the risk of infection and foot ulcers. More than 80 percent of amputations in the US are due to diabetic foot ulcers.
What Can I Do For Healthy Feet?
For healthier feet and to manage risks, here are some of the things you can do:
- Manage your blood sugar levels; work toward reaching A1C goals.
- Manage high blood pressure.
- Wash your feet with soap and water daily and keep them dry.
- Check your feet every day for any changes.
- Be physically active to improve blood circulation.
- Keep feet protected by wearing socks and supportive shoes.
- Limit alcohol intake, and quit smoking.
- Follow a healthy, diabetic-friendly diet.
- Leave the treatment of foot conditions, such as corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails, to a foot doctor.
- Have your feet checked by a foot doctor at least once every year.
When Is it Time To Seek Diabetic Foot Pain Treatment?
It is crucial for diabetics to address foot problems quickly as the situation can escalate rapidly. Seek medical attention for the following:
- A change in skin color or nail thickness
- Decreased ability to feel cold or heat
- Frequent fungal infections
- Broken skin on your feet that won’t heal
- Redness or a feeling of warmth in the feet
- Burning or tingling sensations in the feet that worsen at night and affect sleep
- Changes in the foot’s shape or structure
Diabetic Foot Pain Treatment in Catonsville, Columbia, Eldersburg, and Fulton, MD
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, our podiatrists, Dr. Marc Lipton and Dr. Hayden Hoffler, provide personalized treatments for patients’ podiatric issues. They are highly experienced in helping individuals with diabetes reduce their risk of complications and take better care of their feet.
We have a well-appointed facility that allows us to quickly diagnose and treat our patients. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lipton or Dr. Hoffler, use our online request form or call our office today at (410) 644-1880. We have locations in Catonsville, Columbia, Eldersburg, and Fulton.
Our friendly staff looks forward to providing you with the highest quality diabetic foot care services in Baltimore and the surrounding areas.