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Here’s How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Here’s How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Diabetes can cause significant issues for your feet, several of which can become severe enough to lead to amputation. Learning about the connection between diabetes and your feet helps you be more prepared and diligent about dealing with issues that arise, no matter how small they may seem at first. 

Podiatry services here at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants can restore the health of your feet. Our office is located in Merrillville, Indiana, but serves the greater Northwest Indiana region, including Munster, Crown Point, St. John, and Dyer. Podiatrist Michael Lacey, DPM, can teach you all about your feet and how to avoid the foot-related complications that often come with diabetes. 

The connection between diabetes and your feet

The problems that diabetes causes in the feet are due to excess glucose in your blood. Over time, the extra sugar damages structures in your feet, namely the nerves and blood vessels. Untreated or improperly managed diabetes can lead to foot and ankle problems and complications, including:

Poor circulation

Circulation is the flow of blood. Peripheral artery disease is a common complication of diabetes that often affects the feet first because they’re farthest away from your heart. 

Peripheral artery disease limits blood flow to your feet, which deprives your tissues of necessary oxygen delivered by red blood cells. That impacts healing, so even a small cut or another flesh injury can rapidly turn into an ulcer that remains an open wound. Due to the lack of circulation, there’s also a risk of foot wounds becoming gangrenous. 

Nerve damage

Another well-known issue with diabetes is neuropathy or nerve damage. The nerves in your limbs are especially prone to diabetic nerve damage that comes with symptoms like numbness and tingling. 

Numbness due to diabetic neuropathy can prevent pain signals that would normally alert you of a wound or injury. Without these pain signals, you can go about your day without knowing what’s happening to your feet. In fact, if you don’t routinely check your feet, you can develop an ulcer without ever realizing you were injured. 

What comes next 

Checking your feet every day is crucial when you have advanced diabetes. You should look for cuts, redness, puncture wounds, skin changes, and warts and report them to our team, no matter how insignificant they may seem. 

It’s equally important to keep your feet clean and dry at all times. The surfaces of your feet are breeding grounds for bacteria that can easily infect even a tiny wound in your skin. 

While it’s not always feasible to entirely eliminate neuropathy issues and diabetes-related problems with circulation, you can avoid complications that are difficult to treat by keeping a close eye on your feet and taking care of them. 

Of course, you should also make regular visits to Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants for a professional diabetic foot examination. To schedule an appointment, call our office or use the online booking feature at your earliest convenience. 

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