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: 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 >>
Symptoms Of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a condition caused by long-term high blood sugar levels, which causes nerve damage. Some people will not have any symptoms. But for others symptoms may be debilitating. Between 60 and 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Peripheral neuropathy, the most common form of diabetic neuropathy, affects the legs, feet, toes, hands, and arms. Many people do not know that they have diabetes. People unaware of their diabetes may not know what’s causing some of the unusual sensations they’re experiencing. Nerve damage is the result of high levels of blood glucose over long periods of time. It isn’t entirely clear why high glucose levels damage nerves. A number of factors may play a role in nerve fiber damage. One possible component is the intricate interplay between the blood vessels and nerves, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and nerve inflammation. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy usually first appears in the feet and legs, and may occur in the hands and arms later. A common symptom of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is numbness. Sometimes you may be unable to feel your feet while walking. Other times, your hands or feet will tingle or burn. Or it may feel like you’re wearing a sock or glove when you’re not. Sometimes you may experience sudden, sharp pains that feel like an electrical current. Other times, you may feel cramping, like when you’re grasping something like a piece of silverware. You also may sometimes unintentionally drop items you’re holding as a result of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Walking with a wobbly motion or even losing your balance can res 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 >>
Diabetes-related Foot And Ankle Problems
EndocrineWeb spoke with Dr. Nere Onosode about diabetes-related foot and ankle problems. Dr. Onosode is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine and board-qualified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Here, he answers the many questions of interest to people with diabetes. What are some of the common types of foot problems you see in patients with diabetes? Dr. Onosode: I tend to see underlying structural bony and soft tissue problems. These include digital contractures commonly known as hammertoe deformities. Another is hallus abducto valgus deformities—commonly called bunions. A bunion affects shoe fit and comfort when walking, and causes soft tissue problems. Frankly, anything (eg, irritation) that causes bony or soft tissue enlargement of the front part of the foot (called the forefoot) can be problematic in the diabetic population. Is there a difference in the prevalence of foot and/or ankle problems in patients with Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes? Dr. Onosode: In my practice, Type 2 definitely tends to be more prominent than Type 1. I believe this is because patients with Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed later in life, tend to be more overweight, and have developed complications by the time they see me. The onset of Type 1 diabetes occurs in children and teenagers, and they are usually diagnosed and managed early. Do people with diabetes tend to have more foot problems than people who do not have the disease? Dr. Onosode: People whose diabetes is not properly controlled tend to have more foot problems than nondiabetics. However, having diabetes is not a sentence to developing problems with the feet! I tell patients, if you are controlling your diabetes well, checking your feet daily, seeing the right specialist—whether that is your endocrinologist, primary care 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 >>
How Can Diabetes Affect My Feet?
Chronically high blood sugar (glucose) levels can be associated with serious complications in people who have diabetes. The feet are especially at risk. Two conditions called diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease can damage the feet (and other areas of the body) in people who have diabetes. What is diabetic neuropathy? Chronically high sugar levels associated with uncontrolled diabetes can cause nerve damage that interferes with the ability to sense pain and temperature. This so-called "sensory diabetic neuropathy" increases the risk a person with diabetes will not notice problems with his or her feet. Nearly 10% of people with diabetes develop foot ulcers due to peripheral vascular disease and nerve damage. People with diabetes may not notice sores or cuts on the feet, which in turn can lead to an infection. Nerve damage can also affect the function of foot muscles, leading to improper alignment and injury. What is peripheral vascular disease? Diabetes is associated with poor circulation (blood flow). Inadequate blood flow increases the healing time for cuts and sores. Peripheral vascular disease refers to compromised blood flow in the arms and legs. Poor blood flow increases the risk that infections will not heal. This, in turn, increases the risk of ulcers and gangrene, which is tissue death that occurs in a localized area when there is an inadequate blood supply. What are common foot problems of people with diabetes? The following images show common foot problems that anyone can get; however, those with diabetes are at increased risk for serious complications associated with these conditions, including infection and even amputation. Athlete's foot Fungal infection of the feet is called athlete's foot. Cracked skin, itching, and redness are associated w 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Why Do My Feet Hurt: Diabetes And Foot Care
Why Do My Feet Hurt: Diabetes and Foot Care In Conditions , Foot Facts by Alnoor Ladhani, Chiropodist If you have Diabetes and find that your feet are often sensitive, tender, or prone to hurting, it is important you know these two words: Diabetic Neuropathy. Diabetic Neuropathy is nerve damage that causes tingling, pain, and even numbness.A whopping 60 70% of people with Diabetes have neuropathy somewhere in their body. This is cause for serious concern and a long, hard look at this condition and what you can do about it. Neuropathy is one of the most common long-term complications of Diabetes. It can occur anywhere in the body, from your lips to your toes. Studies have shown that this condition frequently affects people that have had Diabetes for 25+ years but anyone with Diabetes can develop nerve issues at any time. Nerve damage has several contributing factors including high blood glucose (damages blood vessels), low levels of insulin, and lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol use. Some people may think that just because Diabetic Neuropathy is so common, there is nothing they can do to prevent it. But there are dire reasons as to why you should be proactive about this condition. Diabetic Neuropathy is especially dangerous because you could deeply hurt yourself and not even feel it. Untreated cuts, sores, or blisters can become infected and could ultimately lead to decay and ulcers in your limbs. In extreme cases, amputation is needed to prevent gangrene or an infection from spreading to other parts of your body. This happens frequently enough to be a concern. Loss of sensation isnt the only symptom that develops from nerve damage. Other indications include problems with urination, weakness, and nausea/constipation. Unfortunately, weight loss and depression Continue reading >>
Diabetic Neuropathy—the Agony Of Da Feet
[Editor’s note: In recognition of American Diabetes Month, Harvard Health Publications is collaborating with MSN.com on its Stop Diabetes initiative. Today’s post, published on World Diabetes Day, is the first of several focusing on this all-too-common disorder.] People tend to think of diabetes as a silent, painless condition. Don’t tell that to the millions of folks with diabetes-induced tingling toes or painful feet. This problem, called diabetic neuropathy, can range from merely aggravating to disabling or even life threatening. It’s something I have first-hand (or, more appropriately, first-foot) knowledge about. High blood sugar, the hallmark of diabetes, injures nerves and blood vessels throughout the body. The first nerves to be affected tend to be the smallest ones furthest from the spinal cord—those that stretch to the toes and feet. Diabetic neuropathy affects different people in different ways. I feel it as a tingling in my toes. Moving my feet and wiggling my toes helps the tingling disappear for a while. Others have it much worse. Diabetic neuropathy can cause a constant burning feeling in the feet; sharp pain that may be worse at night; and extreme sensitivity to touch, making the weight of a sheet unbearable. It can be sneaky, too, and completely rob the feet of their ability to sense pain. The truly scary thing about diabetic neuropathy is a 10-letter word we usually associate with horrific accidents or Civil War battlefields—amputation. When sensory nerves in the feet become damaged, a blister, cut, or sore can go unnoticed, allowing time for the wound to become infected. Infections that cause tissue to die (gangrene) and that spread to the bone may be impossible to treat with cleansing and antibiotics. Diabetes accounts for about 70,000 lo 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 >>