Diabetes affects every part of your body, but the feet may suffer the most. But what does diabetes look like on the feet? It starts with nerve damage.
Diabetes is a serious health concern that can affect all parts of the body. According to Spring Hill, TN, podiatrist Dr. Danielle Malin, the feet perhaps suffer most of all. Unfortunately, keeping your feet healthy is paramount to your success at living with diabetes. If you are looking for information on what diabetes looks like on the feet, you’ve come to the right place.
Around 50% of people with diabetes experience nerve damage within the body. The vast majority of these find that nerve damage affects their feet in some way. But what does nerve damage look like?
As a podiatrist, Dr. Malin knows that the signs may not always be easy to spot. She explains, however, that nerve damage in the feet may start with an unexplained numbness or tingling, which may feel like your foot has simply gone to sleep. Another sign of nerve damage is if you don’t feel pain. You might not notice a small cut or blister, for example, which may become infected and cause serious problems without treatment.
Who’s At Risk Of Nerve Damage Caused By Diabetes?
While anyone with diabetes is at risk of nerve damage on the lower extremities, there are a few factors that may increase your risk. According to the podiatrist, Spring Hill patients must watch for:
- Unmanageable blood sugar levels
- Chronic diabetes
- Being overweight or obese
- Age – people over 40 are more likely to experience nerve damage
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Potential Side Effects Of Nerve Damage
Nerve damage is often accompanied by decreased circulation, which is another common complication of diabetes. The combination of these two issues can also put you at a greater risk of developing a wound or sores on the foot known as a foot ulcer. These get infected easily, and it is much harder to heal from these types of injuries when you have diabetes. Foot ulcers are a serious concern because these can lead to the need for amputation.
How To Keep Your Feet Healthy
Even if you have diabetes, you can still have healthy feet. A few tips from the podiatrist include:
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, there’s never been a better time to quit. Smoke can decrease circulation, which can exacerbate diabetes-related issues.
- Clean your feet every day. Wash your feet with warm water, and make sure to moisturize after each bath. Look for issues that you might not feel, such as calluses, blisters, and cuts.
- Don’t go barefoot. If you have diabetes, you have to keep your feet safe. Unfortunately, this means keeping your shoes on any time you are outside. Ideally, you’ll also wear socks or slippers in the house.
- Trim your toenails the right way. Ask your podiatrist to cut your toenails during your visit instead of going to a salon. A podiatrist knows the right way to trim nails – straight across, not curved – and can gently and professionally smooth sharp edges.
Went To Call Your Podiatrist
Contact Dr. Malin if you experience pain in the legs or feet, you do not feel heat or cold below the ankles, you’ve lost hair on your toes, your skin is dry and cracked, or you notice a fungal infection or thickened, yellow toenails.
Diabetes is a serious issue that can cause major problems for your overall health. And, unfortunately, it attacks the feet in ways you may not notice. If you have diabetes, keep a close watch on your feet, ankles, and toes, and contact your podiatrist if you have questions or concerns.
Dr. Danielle Malin of Premier Foot & Ankle Care in Columbia, TN, specializes in treating foot and ankle pain, Achilles tendinitis, warts, nail disorders, hammertoe, bunions, and more. She is a skilled foot and ankle surgeon who offers personalized patient care through her full-service office. Dr. Malin is unique among local podiatric specialists in that she makes house calls so that she can best care for her diverse patient base. Premier Foot & Ankle care treats both adult and pediatric patients. A staff physician at Maury regional, Dr. Malin is board certified by the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery.