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Diabetes and Foot Problems: Explaining the Link

Diabetes and Foot Problems: Explaining the Link

Diabetes is serious. In the UK alone, approximately 700 people per day are diagnosed with some form of the diabetes: with an estimated total of 3.9 million people living with the condition.

And, aside from the condition’s other effects on a person’s health and wellbeing, diabetes and feet are more closely related than perhaps you may be aware. Indeed, diabetes and foot pain is a commonly reported issue, with the ailment greatly increasing the risk of a person developing foot problems.

Diabetes and Feet: How Are They Connected?

Diabetes and foot problems are innately connected, with the majority of diabetics experiencing some manner of foot health issue in their lifetime.

For example, amongst the numerous links between diabetes and feet, the condition poses circulatory issues, meaning a lower supply of blood to the feet. This, in turn, can mean that cuts and sores take significantly longer to heal, potentially prolonging discomfort. Moreover, prolonged poor circulation can result in a condition known as diabetic neuropathy – a type of nerve damage in the feet that can cause tingling sensations, loss of feeling, and pose major risks to foot health, such as developing cuts and wounds without realising it.

Diabetes and foot pain are frequently reported together, too, with patients experiencing cramping, and even burning sensations, in their legs and feet. Left untreated, diabetic foot problems can include painful ulcers, serious infections, and, in rare cases, such as an infection developing gangrene, require amputation.

And, although much, much less common, diabetic foot problems can result in a condition known as Charcot’s Foot – where diabetes-related nerve damage changes the shape of a person’s feet as bones shift and break.

Fortunately, the link between diabetes and feet is well-known to podiatrists, and can be addressed, and even avoided, with regular foot care.

Diabetes and Foot Problems: Spotting the Signs

Though often subtle, diabetic foot problems are easy to spot, and, if you live with the condition, regularly checking your feet is hugely important as any changes may indicate a larger problem.

Several things you should be on the lookout for:

  • A tingling sensation in the feet; similar to pins and needles.
  • Pain or general discomfort; often felt as burning sensation.
  • A constant dull ache.
  • Smooth or shiny skin on the feet.
  • Unexplained hair loss on the legs and feet.
  • Swelling in the feet, toes, and calves.
  • Feet that don’t sweat.
  • Cuts and sores that don’t heal. (Also, cuts and sores that are visible, but can’t be felt.)
  • Cramping in the calves, whether walking or sitting.

If you experience any of these issues, it’s important to consult your podiatrist or doctor.

Foot Care and Diabetes

Diabetes and foot pain can have a significant impact on a person’s foot health and overall wellbeing. Fortunately, there are a wealth of options for addressing diabetic foot problems; some of which can be taken at home.

Podiatry for diabetic foot problems

For example, people with diabetes should take care to avoid walking barefoot – at home or outdoors – as reduced sensation in the feet can lead to picking up cuts and sores that will take much longer to heal.

Also, it’s important for people with diabetes to ensure they wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes, as well as washing their feet regularly in warm – not hot – water and soap. 

Moisturising feet and toes is important, too, as is keeping toenails clipped.

In the event that foot ulcers, corns, callouses, or other wounds develop, it’s vital that you visit a podiatrist to have them dealt with safely.

Diabetes and foot problems are, sadly, a common occurrence, but they needn’t take the spring out of your step. Foot care for diabetics is a key part of podiatry, and a range of help is available to ensure that you and your feet stay healthy.

Diabetic Foot Assessment at Shuropody 

Did you know our experienced podiatrists at our Shuropody Foot Clinics offer professional assessments and advice. If you suffer from diabetes, then we strongly recommend that you book a diabetic foot assessment online at one of our Shuropody clinic locations across the UK.

We also offer a wide range of diabetic socks, ideal for sufferers of the condition. You can shop online here.

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