What is the Link Between Foot Problems and Diabetes?

People who have diabetes are particularly prone to foot problems.  If you suffer from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, read on to learn more about the link between diabetes and foot problems.

Facts About Diabetes and Foot Problems

People who have diabetes are at an increased risk of developing two conditions – peripheral artery disease (PAD) and peripheral neuropathy.  When a person develops either of these two conditions, their risk of developing foot problems increases.

Diabetes sufferers are prone to developing a variety of foot ailments, including corns, bunions, calluses, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and fungal infections. If you have diabetes, you are also at increased risk of developing ulcers on your feet.

Diabetes patients are also at risk for gangrene.  There are two types of gangrene.  Dry gangrene refers to the death of the tissue due to a lack of blood circulation.  Wet gangrene is a bacterial infection that can develop when the blood is not circulating properly.

What is the Link Between Diabetes and Foot Problems?

Those who have diabetes often develop peripheral artery disease (PAD) and peripheral neuropathy.  These conditions are responsible for the link between diabetes and foot problems.

Peripheral artery disease is also known as peripheral vascular disease.  In this condition, the arteries become narrowed or blocked.  This narrowing or blockage of the arteries prevents oxygen from being properly delivered to the feet and legs.  The inability of the body to deliver oxygen to the feet and legs can lead to the development of ulcers and gangrene.

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which damage to the peripheral nerves occurs as a result of the diabetic condition.  As a result, there can be a loss of feeling and sensation in the legs and feet, and the muscles may not function properly.  Patients may not be aware of injuries due to the loss of sensation.

Foot Conditions Caused by Diabetes

As a result of diabetes and related conditions, there are a variety of foot problems that can occur.  They include:

  1. Calluses and corns can develop, often related to abnormal gait;
  2. The toenails can develop fungal infections, which often appear as thick, brittle, or discolored nails;
  3. Athlete’s foot can occur, which is a fungal infection in the skin of the feet;
  4. As a result of muscle weakness, hammertoes can occur;
  5. Bunions and ingrown toenails can develop;
  6. The skin on the feet, particularly the heels, can become dry and cracked.
  7. Bruises/pressure points can develop due to ill fitting socks & shoes.
  8. Cuts can develop due to foreign objects getting into shoes, & not felt or noticed due to the lack of sensation in the foot.

Treatment for Foot Problems Caused by Diabetes

If you have foot problems caused by diabetes, the most important thing that you can do to take care of yourself is to manage your diabetes and maintain appropriate blood sugar levels.

Stick with the diet and exercise programs that have been recommended by your doctor.  When your diabetes is well-controlled, you are less likely to develop foot problems and other related conditions.

Wear comfortable shoes that protect your feet at all times.  Don’t go barefoot.  Proper footwear and orthotic inserts can help to relieve many of the conditions experienced by diabetes patients.

If you have diabetes and foot problems, stop by Foot Solutions.  Our experts can help you discover the tools to keep your feet healthy and comfortable.

We can perform gait analysis and recommend shoes that will suit you and help to improve your gait and posture.  We can also fit you with custom arch supports in order to accommodate any foot problems that you might be experiencing.

Visit Foot Solutions to learn more about how we can help you manage your diabetes and foot health today.