Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of nerve damage and circulation issues due to abnormally-high blood sugar levels. This may instigate or aggravate existing foot problems, like sores, ingrown nails and infections. People with diabetes are more prone to foot problems, which is why moderating and treating foot health is imperative.
Diabetes can negatively impact feet in the following ways:
When nerves are damaged due to uncontrolled diabetes, a lack of sensation can start in the legs and feet. Patients may notice an inability to feel hot, cold or painful sensations. If you suffer a wound on the foot and fail to feel it due to diabetic neuropathy, and the cut or sore isn’t immediately addressed, an infection can transpire. Diabetic neuropathy can also cause the muscles to malfunction, causing misalignment or focused pressure. An estimated 10 percent of people with diabetes bear foot ulcers due to nerve damage.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Diabetics may also be prone to peripheral vascular disease, or poor blood flow to the arms and legs. Lack of blood flow obstructs the body’s ability to heal wounds or infections in the extremities. Side effects include ulcers or gangrene.
Although not strictly caused by diabetes, the following foot problems can lead to serious, systemic infections in diabetic patients that require amputation. Keep an eye out for the following conditions and their symptoms:
Nails infected with fungus usually turn yellow, brown or opaque in color. Structurally, they may become thick but brittle and separate easily. In order to treat fungal infections caused by diabetes, we offer a combination of topical and oral medications. In some cases, removal of damaged nail tissue is necessary.
Although extremely common and not threatening in a healthy individual, athlete’s foot is dangerous for people with diabetes. Symptoms include itching, cracking and redness. You may need a topical or oral treatment to eradicate the fungus.
Foot ulcers are caused by an infected wound on the food. Even a small scrape can become infected and lead to an ulcer. For patients with diabetes, healing is delayed and difficult. Always have foot infections inspected by your podiatrist as soon as they appear.
Even seemingly minor issues like calluses, corns, blisters and dry skin are more serious for patients with diabetes. But, treating these issues before an infection spreads minimizes your chances of suffering serious complications.