Diabetic Complications and Your Feet
Managing diabetes can be a complex process and one that requires vigilance in order to spot symptoms of possible complications early. At FL Foot Health, we know that this systemic disease can play havoc with your feet. Your podiatrist should be a key member of your diabetes care team. If you need to find a podiatrist in your area, use our online directory.
Below are some complications commonly associated with diabetes to watch out for:
Corns and Calluses—in patients with diabetes, corns and calluses build up faster than in patients who do not have this disease. While these are relatively minor podiatric problems, it’s best to let your podiatrist treat them. Using chemical agents to remove them or attempting to file them down on your own can lead to serious infection or injury.
Neuropathy—nerve damage (or neuropathy) resulting in a loss or lack of sensation is a condition that frequently accompanies diabetes. It can be particularly dangerous because it increases your risk of injury and infection because you do not feel pain or other uncomfortable symptoms until they become quite severe. It’s essential for patients with diabetes to inspect their feet daily, looking for any cuts, rashes, bruises or other signs that a diabetic ulcer may be forming, and not rely solely on their perceptions of pain.
Peripheral Arterial Disease—if you have diabetes, you also have an increased chance of developing peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This is a narrowing or blockage of the arteries due to deposits of fat and plaque which reduces circulation to your legs and feet. Pain and a general feeling of tiredness or sluggishness in your legs and feet are symptoms of PAD, particularly when you are at rest.
Dry Skin—almost 30% of diabetic patients suffer from some kind of skin disorder as a result of the disease. Normal sweat and lubrication production can be disrupted, resulting in dry skin and cracked heels. These can become an entry point for bacteria and result in an infection. Patients with diabetes are also more likely to contract a fungal or bacterial foot infection.
Regular checkups with your podiatrist can help lower your risk of podiatric complications from diabetes. To learn more about managing this and other diseases that affect your feet, contact us and subscribe to our free e-newsletter.