Feet Complications related to Diabetes

Written by a Podiatrist friend, Dr. Armando Gonzalez

Complications of diabetes are very real and if left untreated could lead to amputation of a toe, foot, leg or worst your life.   Diabetes when poorly managed will affect the feeling, as well as the blood flow, to your feet and legs. Decreased blood flow and loss of feeling influences the ability to heal a simple cut, scratch or minor infection.  Overall it will take longer to heal wounds of any kind.

When you let your diabetes go unchecked it will begin to affect the nerves in your feet.  This diabetic nerve damage in the medical community is known as neuropathy, which affects the way you feel pain, cold, and heat. Most foot problems occur because of the loss of feeling to your feet.  Other causes of foot problems are poor blood flow and changes in the shape of your feet or toes.

The easiest solution to prevent diabetic related foot problems is to manage and take control of your health.  Timing is everything.  The earlier and sooner you begin to manage your diabetes the better you are in preventing other serious complications.   Build your healthcare team.  This team begins with you and your primary doctor.  Speak to your primary doctor about getting a dietitian on board.   A good dietitian is able to look at your current diet and make simple modifications to help improve the way your body deals with sugar. If you begin to notice changes to your feet and/or legs, ask your primary doctor to add a podiatrist to your team.   A good podiatrist is there to help prevent and managed foot complications associated with diabetes.  Other healthcare team members include but not limited to are physical therapists, neurologist, dentists, psychologists, vascular surgeons, eye specialists, etc.

A few tips to take home: Do not wait to check your blood sugar level at your primary doctor’s office.  You should be checking and logging your blood sugar levels at home regularly.  Examined your feet every night.  Check your socks and shoes for unusual stains.  If anything looks, smells, or feels different do not hesitate to contact your podiatrist or primary doctor immediately.  Infection can spread very quickly.  Inspect your shoes for rough edges and remove any rocks or insects.  Never walk barefoot, especially outside.

While the above solutions is easier said than done.  It takes a lot of patience to overcome many of your life’s obstacles.  Just remember that you are not alone and that you are ultimately in control.