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Diabetes can knock you off your feet...

Updated: Apr 15

A photo of feet covered in sand

If you've had diabetes for a long time or your blood glucose levels have been too high for an extended period of time, your feet may be at risk of serious complications.

Uncontrolled diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet and legs, reduce blood flow to your feet and cause stiffness in the joints, not to mention, it can make you more susceptible to ulcers, infections and amputations.

Poor blood glucose control may cause nerve damage to the nerve in your feet, a term known as peripheral neuropathy. Once you develop peripheral neuropathy, your feet lack the protective sensation required to respond to potentially harmful stimuli. This increases the individual’s risk of accidental damage because the individual cannot feel any pain. If the damage is left untreated, it may develop into an ulcer. The ulcer may become infected and the progression of an infection may lead to an amputation. Symptoms of nerve damage include the following;

  • Numbness and tingling in the feet that can spread to the legs

  • Pins and needles in the feet

  • Burning sensation in the lower limbs that are marked at night

  • Cold legs

Poor blood glucose control can also lead to reduced blood supply to the feet. This means that the individual is more prone infection. Signs of poor blood flow to the feet include;

  • Feet feeling cold

  • Change in foot colour to pale, or reddish-blue colour

  • Pain in the feet, even at rest

  • Cramps in the calf muscles after short walks

  • Slow healing cuts

  • Reduced hair and nail growth

It is important to ensure that you have your diabetes foot assessment performed once a year or as advised by your podiatrist.

Daily care can prevent these serious complications. Check your feet daily for any of the following;

  • Broken skin between toes or cracked skin

  • Cuts, bruises or blisters

  • Nail colour changes or ingrown toenails.

  • Redness or unusual swelling

  • Calluses or corns

  • Ulcers

  • Change in foot shape

If you notice any of the above changes, it is important to act fast and see your podiatrist for treatment and long term management.

Book your appointment now with one of our skilled Podiatrists.

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