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If you suffer from diabetes, your feet can suffer right along with you. High blood glucose levels can cause damage to your nerves and blood vessels which in turn, can affect the health of your feet. Diabetes also can hamper your body’s ability to fight infection, another risk for diabetes patients.
There are two main foot problems caused by diabetes:
Damage to the nerves: The first problem is nerve damage. When this occurs, the condition is called diabetic neuropathy, which can cause a normally common foot problem to become much more complicated. Diabetic neuropathy causes you to lose the sensation in your feet and legs. Because you might not feel a cut or sore spot, an infection is more likely to develop. It is also important that you carefully choose the right diabetic shoes.
Poor blood flow: High blood glucose can also make it more difficult for the blood to flow freely to your legs and feet. This condition is termed peripheral vascular disease. This circulation disorder can lead to infections that do not heal and increases your risk for foot ulcers and even gangrene.
Common foot problems can be more serious in the diabetic. The following foot ailments, while not serious in a non-diabetic, can become infected more easily, causing very serious complications like amputation. Here are a few of these problems:
Athlete’s foot: A fungus that is spread through contact in public bathing and showering areas that causes a red, itchy inflamed condition most often in the toe area. There are many treatments for this condition, so the diabetic should be sure to consult an experienced podiatrist for early diagnosis.
Nail fungus: Another common foot ailment that can cause problems for a diabetic. Infected nails become brittle, discolored, and may crumble and separate from the toe.
Skin changes: Your feet may become very dry, peel, and eventually crack. This happens when the nerves that control moisture and oil in your feet stop working correctly, which can happen in those with diabetes.
Calluses: People who have diabetes tend to form calluses more often than those without. If not tended to, calluses can crack and become infected, especially if left unnoticed for a long period of time. The best person to treat them is our award-winning podiatrist in Sugar Land and Houston, TX.
Foot ulcers: Usually caused by poorly fitting shoes, foot ulcers are an especially serious risk. If neglected, foot ulcers can result in very serious infections. Do not wait to see a podiatrist if you suffer from foot ulcers.
Other common foot problems: Common problems like blisters, ingrown toenails, bunions, plantar warts, and hammertoes are all made more serious by a diabetes diagnosis. Also keep an eye out for Charcot foot, a condition in which the bones in the foot break due to poor circulation, and neuropathy makes it hard to notice.