Diabetic Foot Pain
by Kenneth B. Rehm, DPM Includes photo of Dr. Kenneth B. Rehm, DPM Diabetes is one of the most common reasons people seek relief for painful feet. With diabetes, four types of foot problems may arise in the feet. Nerve Problems due to Diabetes The most common contributor to diabetic foot pain is a nerve problem called Peripheral Neuropathy. This is where the nerves are directly affected by the disease process. There are basically three types of peripheral neuropathy: sensory, motor, and autonomic neuropathy. A large percentage of pain diabetic patients complain of is due to sensory neuropathy. This can show up as "sensitive pain," where the amount of pain is not proportional to the amount of insult that is causing it. For instance, just touching the skin or putting a sheet over your feet in bed could be painful. This can be present at the same time as numbness in the feet. Sensory neuropathy symptoms can include burning, tingling or a stabbing pain. Relief is foremost on someone's mind when painful neuropathy has raised its ugly head. The first thing to do is to check your blood sugar for the past several weeks to see if there has been a trend toward high blood sugar (Editor's Note: The A1c test is traditionally employed to determine this, and should be repeated about every three months.) Persistent high blood sugar can contribute to this type of pain. Massaging your feet with a diabetic foot cream, or using a foot roller, often takes the edge off the pain. Vitamin B preparations are often recommended; and there are a variety of prescription medications that do work. Using cushioned, supportive shoes and foot support inserts is always needed to protect the feet from the pounding, rubbing and irritating pressures that contribute to neuropathic pain. Motor neuropathy can Continue reading >>
7 Natural Diabetic Neuropathy Treatments That Work
Diabetes itself is extremely common, affecting about one in every three adults in the U.S., and diabetic neuropathy is one of the most likely complications to develop as a side effect because high blood sugar levels affect nerve fibers throughout the body. Neuropathy is a pathological condition that encompasses more than 100 different forms and manifestations of nerve damage, both in people with diabetes and those without. (1) Diabetic neuropathy (also sometimes called peripheral neuropathy) is the term for nerve damage caused by diabetes, a chronic condition that occurs when the body doesn’t use the hormone insulin properly. Neuropathy can form anywhere but is most likely to affect nerves running through the limbs, hands and feet. Not every person with diabetes symptoms develops complications such as neuropathy, but many do. In fact, up to 60 percent to 70 percent of all diabetics experience some form of neuropathy. For some people, only mild symptoms develop from nerve damage, such as tingling or numbness in the limbs. But for others, neuropathy causes a good amount of pain, digestive issues, problems with the heart and blood vessels, the inability to go about life normally, and even death if major organs are affected badly enough. Diabetic neuropathy can trigger a cascade of events that lead to even more serious complications. Just like with diabetes itself, there is no known “cure” for peripheral neuropathy, only ways to manage it and stop progression, similarly to the natural treatments for diabetes. It’s a dangerous problem to have, but fortunately most people are able to keep it under control by regulating their blood sugar levels, changing their diets and adopting healthier lifestyles overall, all of which help control their diabetes. 7 Natural Remedies Continue reading >>
Print Overview Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in your extremities to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. For some people, these symptoms are mild; for others, diabetic neuropathy can be painful, disabling and even fatal. Diabetic neuropathy is a common serious complication of diabetes. Yet you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with tight blood sugar control and a healthy lifestyle. Symptoms There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy. You may have just one type or symptoms of several types. Most develop gradually, and you may not notice problems until considerable damage has occurred. The signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy vary, depending on the type of neuropathy and which nerves are affected. Peripheral neuropathy Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy. Your feet and legs are often affected first, followed by your hands and arms. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are often worse at night, and may include: Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes A tingling or burning sensation Sharp pains or cramps Increased sensitivity to touch — for some people, even the weight of a bed sheet can be agonizing Muscle weakness Loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle Loss of balance and coordination Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain Autonomic neuropathy The autonomic nervous system controls your hea Continue reading >>
Tips For Treating Diabetic Nerve Pain
Diabetes can cause long-term problems throughout your body, especially if you don’t control your blood sugar effectively, and sugar levels remain high for many years. High blood sugar can cause diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerves that send signals from your hands and feet. Diabetic neuropathy can cause numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. Another symptom is a burning, sharp, or aching pain (diabetic nerve pain). The pain may be mild at first, but it can get worse over time and spread up your legs or arms. Walking can be painful, and even the softest touch can feel unbearable. Up to 50 percent of people with diabetes may experience nerve pain. Nerve damage can affect your ability to sleep, decrease your quality of life, and can also cause depression. Damaged nerves can’t be replaced. However, there are ways that you can prevent further damage and relieve your pain. First, control your blood sugar so the damage doesn’t progress. Talk to your doctor about setting your blood sugar goal, and learn to monitor it. You may be asked to lower your blood sugar before meals to 70 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and your blood sugar after meals to less than 180 mg/dL. Use diets, exercise, and medications to decrease your blood sugar to a healthier range. Monitor other health risks that can worsen your diabetes, such as your weight and smoking. Ask your doctor about effective ways to lose weight or quit smoking, if necessary. Your doctor might suggest trying an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin (Bufferin), or ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil), which are available without a prescription but can cause side effects. Use a low dose for a short time to control your symptoms. Other options exist for stronger Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Foot Problems
Foot problems are common in people with diabetes. You might be afraid you’ll lose a toe, foot, or leg to diabetes, or know someone who has, but you can lower your chances of having diabetes-related foot problems by taking care of your feet every day. Managing your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar, can also help keep your feet healthy. How can diabetes affect my feet? Over time, diabetes may cause nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy, that can cause tingling and pain, and can make you lose feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Cuts and sores can become infected. Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet. Not having enough blood flowing to your legs and feet can make it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Sometimes, a bad infection never heals. The infection might lead to gangrene. Gangrene and foot ulcers that do not get better with treatment can lead to an amputation of your toe, foot, or part of your leg. A surgeon may perform an amputation to prevent a bad infection from spreading to the rest of your body, and to save your life. Good foot care is very important to prevent serious infections and gangrene. Although rare, nerve damage from diabetes can lead to changes in the shape of your feet, such as Charcot’s foot. Charcot’s foot may start with redness, warmth, and swelling. Later, bones in your feet and toes can shift or break, which can cause your feet to have an odd shape, such as a “rocker bottom.” What can I do to keep my feet healthy? Work with your health care team to make a diabetes self-care plan, which is an action plan for how you will manage your diabetes. Your plan should inclu Continue reading >>
What Can I Do For Numb, Painful Feet And Legs?
My husband was diagnosed with diabetes almost a year ago. At first he was experiencing numbness in his feet. Over the past few months, he began having pain as well, sometimes as far up his leg as his calf. What can we do to help these symptoms? I have read that vitamin E and even flaxseed oil are good for the circulation. Would those be helpful? Continue reading >>
Diabetic Nerve Pain: 10 Foot Care Tips To Protect Yourself
Diabetes can mean double trouble for your feet. First, diabetes can reduce blood flow to your feet, depriving your feet of oxygen and nutrients. This makes it more difficult for blisters, sores, and cuts to heal. And second, the diabetic nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness in your feet. When you can't feel cuts and blisters, you're more likely to get sores and infections. If you don't notice or treat the sores, they can become deeply infected, and lead to amputation. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can also cause sharp pain in your feet. You may become excruciatingly sensitive to the lightest touch, like the sheets on your bed. Fortunately, a little TLC goes a long way in preventing foot problems from diabetes. Look over both feet carefully every day, and be sure you check between all of your toes. Blisters and infections can start between your toes, and with diabetic neuropathy, you may not feel them until they've become irritated or infected. If a physical challenge keeps you from checking your own feet, ask a family member to help. Wash both of your feet briefly each day with warm -- not hot -- water. You may not be able to feel heat with your feet, so test the water with your hands first. Avoid soaking too long in water, since waterlogged sores have a harder time healing. Dry your feet right away, and remember to dry gently between all of your toes. It's an investment worth making. Even the slightest rubbing or misfit shoe can cause a blister that turns into a sore that becomes infected and never heals. Buy better-fitting shoes, or try different socks, even at the most minor signs of redness or irritation, since you may not be able to feel when it's getting worse. Before buying or putting on the shoes check your shoes for rough seams, sharp e Continue reading >>
How To Deal With Nerve Pain If You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes , you know it well: Too much sugar isn’t good for you. People whose blood sugar is too high or difficult to control are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, eye problems and other complications, including nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy “High blood sugar is toxic to your nerves,” says Robert Bolash, MD , a specialist in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Pain Management. “When a nerve is damaged, you may feel tingling, pins and needles, burning or sharp, stabbing pain.” Diabetic neuropathy typically starts in your toes, feet or ankles and creeps up your body as the condition worsens, he says. However, nerve damage also can affect your hands and wrists as well as your heart, digestive system, sex organs and more. Up to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some kind of neuropathy , reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) . “Anyone with diabetes can get nerve damage at any time,” says Dr. Bolash. “It’s most common in people whose blood sugar is poorly controlled and those who have had diabetes a long time.” According to the NIDDK, the highest rates of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes 25 years or longer. To avoid getting diabetic neuropathy, control your blood sugar, keeping it as close to nondiabetic levels as possible, advises Dr. Bolash. The bad news about diabetic neuropathy is that it’s tough to reverse. It also can cause serious problems, especially in your feet. If you don’t feel blisters, sores or other foot injuries and don’t promptly care for them, you Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Foot Problems Treatment And Complications
Diabetes and foot problems facts Two main conditions, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and peripheral neuropathy, are responsible for the increased risk of foot problems in people with diabetes. Symptoms and signs of diabetic foot problems arise due to the decreased sensation from nerve damage as well as the lack of oxygen delivery to the feet caused by vascular disease. Diabetic foot problems also include bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, fungal infections, dryness of the skin, and ingrown toenails. These problems are not specific to diabetes, but may occur more commonly due to the nerve and vascular damage caused by diabetes. Treatment depends on the exact type of foot problem. Surgery or even amputation may be required for some cases. Gangrene (dry gangrene) is tissue death due to absence of blood circulation. It can be life threatening if bacterial infection develops (wet gangrene). Many diabetes-related foot problems can be prevented by good control of blood sugar levels combined with appropriate care of the feet. How can diabetes cause foot problems? Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause damage to blood vessels and peripheral nerves that can result in problems in the legs and feet. Two main conditions, 1) peripheral artery disease (PAD), and 2) peripheral neuropathy are responsible for the increased risk of foot problems in people with diabetes. Peripheral artery disease (PAD), sometimes referred to as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), means that there is narrowing or occlusion by atherosclerotic plaques of arteries outside of the heart and brain. This is sometimes referred to as "hardening" of the arteries. Diabetes is a known risk factor for developing peripheral artery disease. In addition to pain in the calves during exercise (medically known as intermitte Continue reading >>
Sensitive Feet And Diabetes: Why My Feet Hurt?
What is nerve damage from diabetes? Diabetic neuropathies are nerve damage caused by diabetes. Neuropathy is one of the most common long term complications of diabetes. It can occur anywhere in the body, and in any organ. Symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and loss of protective sensation can be found in the hands, arms, fingers, feet, legs, toes, and lips. You may also have symptoms of nerve damage in the digestive system (gastroparesis), in the heart, or in sexual organs (erectile dysfunction, or vaginal dryness). In this article, we will be mainly looking at peripheral neuropathy in the feet, also commonly known as sensitive feet. What are sensitive feet? Patients complain about numbness and tingling in their feet and toes, or elsewhere, with a frequency that is more often than in similar reports of other diabetes complications they experience. It’s no wonder these patients with diabetes have complaints of neuropathy symptoms. Other than the tingling sensation or the numbness usually associated with neuropathy, those who have it complain about how much it hurts to put their socks and shoes on. The skin is sensitive to touch, to a point where one can’t even brush up against anything. It is likened to an over-sensitivity and mild pain that is uncomfortable. If it goes on day in and day out, it can be frustrating. Sometimes, a person with diabetes may also get other related foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis. This condition affects the heel of the foot, and can be extremely painful. You will find it too sore to walk with plantar fasciitis. Even without heel problems, the generalized foot pain and soreness can become severe. It has been found that as many as 60 to 70% of people with diabetes have neuropathy somewhere in their body. The longer you have diabete Continue reading >>
Symptoms Of Foot Damage
Wounds cuts, burns, grazes or blisters Its important to take action on any wounds, such as cuts, burns, grazes or blisters. Make sure your feet are kept clean, cover the area of damage with a plaster that allows the area to breathe and ensure the area is not rubbed or made worse. Its important to let your doctor know at the earliest opportunity so he or she can advise on the best care advice for you. Contact your doctor, out of hours service or NHS direct if you notice pus or any sign of infection in your feet . Pain may occur as a result of damage, such as a wound, blister or broken bone but can also occur for other reasons including neuropathic pain (nerve pain). In some cases, such as with nerve pain, the feeling of pain may be present despite no other outward changes. A number of people with diabetes report intense pain when the skin on their feet or legs come into contact with material such as bed linen. A burning sensation, which can present difficulty when getting to sleep is also relatively common. These symptoms in people with diabetes tend to be dysesthesia, a type of neuropathic pain . It is important to tell your doctor if you experience pains in your feet. Prickly, tingly feeling unusual sensations in the feet A tingly feeling like pins and needles could be a result of a number of causes. It can be from a temporary block in circulation, such as if you have been resting too much body weight on one part of your leg. However, it could be the result of neuropathy or advancing circulation problems if the sensation is regular and cant otherwise be explained. If you are experiencing these sensations for no good reason, speak to your doctor. You should also mention whether you have any other symptoms in your feet such as numbness in your feet, any changes of colou Continue reading >>
Why Do Your Feet Hurt?
In the days before modern medicine, someone who lived long enough with diabetes may have had one or both legs amputated. I assumed it did not happen anymore, until I read about people with diabetes who have ignored high blood sugar levels and developed complications requiring amputations. It seemed impossible that this could still be happening. Then the pain and numbness in my own feet sent me looking for answers. What caused it, and what could I do about it? I learned that the path from high blood sugar to foot ulcers and amputations often goes through a condition called peripheral neuropathy, the medical term for nerve damage in the hands, feet, arms, and legs that often causes pain and numbness. Diabetes and nerve damage High blood sugar damages blood vessels. One doctor described the extra glucose floating in the blood of someone with diabetes as similar to bits of glass scraping along the walls of veins and arteries. The tiniest blood vessels are easily damaged. That is why eyes, feet, and kidneys are so vulnerable, showing signs of blood vessel damage, sometimes even before a person is aware he has diabetes. Fingers and toes can become numb or overly sensitive when the blood vessels that supply the nerves are hurt. The longest nerves in your body run down your spine into your feet, ending at your toes. This makes feet an easy target for damage from peripheral neuropathy. Feet with nerve damage Because of diabetes we must care more about issues like foot ulcers, infections, ingrown nails, toenail fungus, and sores. The greatest enemy to our feet is numbness, because pain is the thing that warns us something is wrong. Peripheral neuropathy may make your feet more sensitive to touch while at the same time the numbness it may cause can mask problems like hot spots tha Continue reading >>
How Can Diabetes Affect The Feet?
People with diabetes are prone to foot problems caused by prolonged periods of high blood sugar. There are two main foot problems, each of which can have serious complications. Diabetes is a disease where the body cannot produce insulin or cannot use it effectively. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for helping the cells take in sugar to use for energy. When this does not happen properly, the levels of sugar in the blood can become too high. Prolonged periods of high sugar levels in the blood can wreak havoc on many areas of the body, including the feet. Diabetic foot problems The two main foot problems that affect people with diabetes are: Diabetic neuropathy Over time, diabetes can cause nerve damage that makes it hard for people with diabetes to feel sensation in their extremities. The condition also makes it difficult for a person to feel an irritation on their foot or notice when their shoes are rubbing. This lack of sensation and awareness leads to an increase in the risk of cuts, sores, and blisters developing. Peripheral vascular disease Diabetes leads to changes in the blood vessels, including arteries. In peripheral vascular disease, fatty deposits block these vessels beyond the brain and heart. It tends to affect the blood vessels leading to and from the extremities, reducing blood flow to the hands and feet. Reduced blood flow can lead to pain, infection, and slow healing wounds. Severe infections may lead to amputation. Symptoms Symptoms may vary from person to person and may depend on what issues a person is experiencing at the time. Symptoms of diabetic foot problems can include the following: loss of feeling numbness or tingling sensation blisters or other wounds without painful skin discoloration skin temperature changes red streaks wounds with Continue reading >>
Diabetic Foot Care Article
A A A Diabetes mellitus (DM) represents several diseases in which high blood glucose levels over time can damage the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. Diabetes can also decrease the body's ability to fight infection. When diabetes is not well controlled, damage to the organs and impairment of the immune system is likely. Foot problems commonly develop in people with diabetes and can quickly become serious. With damage to the nervous system, a person with diabetes may not be able to feel his or her feet properly. Normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is impaired. These factors together can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and can lead to breakdown of the skin of the foot. Sores may develop. Damage to blood vessels and impairment of the immune system from diabetes make it difficult to heal these wounds. Bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles, and bones can then occur. These infections can develop into gangrene. Because of the poor blood flow, antibiotics cannot get to the site of the infection easily. Often, the only treatment for this is amputation of the foot or leg. If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, this process can be life-threatening. People with diabetes must be fully aware of how to prevent foot problems before they occur, to recognize problems early, and to seek the right treatment when problems do occur. Although treatment for diabetic foot problems has improved, prevention - including good control of blood sugar level - remains the best way to prevent diabetic complications. People with diabetes should learn how to examine their own feet and how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of diabetic foot problems. They should also l Continue reading >>
Diabetic Nerve Pain
Tweet Diabetic nerve pain is a syndrome that affects people with diabetes. This type of nerve pain can affect both type 1 and type 2 diabetes sufferers. Nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain, is a result of one of the complications of diabetes, called peripheral neuropathy, or diabetic neuropathy. Why does diabetic nerve pain occur? Diabetic nerve pain most commonly occurs when a person with diabetes has prolonged spells of high blood sugar levels. It is thought that high blood glucose affects the nerves by damaging the blood vessels which supply them. High blood pressure, in addition to hyperglycemia, also has a detrimental effect on the nerves. Smoking and alcohol are also known to increase the risk of nerve pain occurring. Where does diabetic nerve pain typically occur? Diabetic nerve pain usually occurs in peripheral regions or extremities, such as feet and legs, hands and arms. Neuropathic foot pain is one of a number of conditions affecting the feet which are termed as problems of ‘the diabetic foot’. For this reason, people with diabetes are advised to undergo a foot examination once each year. A foot exam can help in two ways, by helping to diagnose new problems, such as diabetic neuropathy or circulation problems and it can also help to spot further complications of the foot such as wounds, blisters and a joint disorder known as charcot arthropathy or charcot foot. What are the symptoms of diabetic nerve pain? Diabetic nerve pain symptoms can include: Prickling or tingling feelings A burning sensation Sharp, stabbing or shooting pains in the aforementioned areas. These can range from mild to extreme. In serious cases the whole area may become numb. A condition known as dysesthesia can develop, in some people, which affects one’s sense of touch causin Continue reading >>