Learn more about diabetes and associated foot conditions.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not product or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.
Loss of blood flow and nerve ending damage are common symptoms of diabetes. Decreased blood flow can make your feet less able to fight infection and nerve damage can allow foot injuries to go unnoticed.*
Below are common foot conditions of a diabetic patient:
Although it can hurt, diabetic nerve damage can also lessen your ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Loss of feeling often means you may not feel a foot injury. (diabetes.org)
Swelling & Edema
Peripheral edema is the collection of fluid in the feet, ankles and legs. Extra consideration is needed for people who have edema and diabetes. It can occur in one or both lower extremities. Damage to capillaries or increased pressure can cause capillaries to leak fluid into surrounding tissues and result in swelling. (diabetes.about.com)
Numbness & Tingling
Peripheral neuropathy, also called distal symmetric neuropathy or sensorimotor neuropathy, is nerve damage in the arms and legs. Feet and legs are likely to be affected before hands and arms. Many people with diabetes have signs of neuropathy that a doctor could note but feel no symptoms themselves. (diabetes.niddk.nih.gov)
The Charcot foot is a rare condition that can occur in some people with diabetes. The underlying factor that contributes to the development of this condition is a loss of sensation in your feet—nerve damage that is referred to as peripheral sensory neuropathy. A condition resulting from nerve damage in which the joints and soft tissue in the foot are destroyed. (diabetesforecast.org)
Wounds and Ulcers
Diabetic ulcerations are often one of the first signs of complications from diabetes in the lower leg. These ulcers can stem from a small wound or cut on the foot that is slow to heal. If left untreated, ulcers can become harder to treat and could lead to amputation. If discovered early and treated by a podiatrist, ulcers may not lead to amputation. (apma.org)
People with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people. The problem? Many people with diabetes have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which reduces blood flow to the feet. Also, many people with diabetes have nerve disease, which reduces sensation. Together, these problems make it easy to get ulcers and infections that may lead to amputation. Most amputations are preventable with regular care and proper footwear.