Diabetes mellitus is a chronic health problem that affects the way your body uses glucose for energy. It’s also related to how your body uses insulin to regulate your blood sugar. Either way, diabetes affects more than just your blood sugar; it can affect other areas of your body as well, including your feet.
At Phoenix Food and Ankle Institute, our expert podiatrist Dr. Jeffrey E. McAlister and his team specialize in many different problems and conditions that affect your feet and ankles, including diabetes-related foot problems. Here’s what you need to know about the signs indicating you have a diabetes-related issue.
Diabetes leads to problems with your body regulating the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your blood. It can also be caused by insufficient insulin production from your pancreas, or problems using the insulin you already have.
No matter the cause, diabetes often causes your blood sugar to creep up over time, leading to many problems in your body, especially your feet. There are two main issues that can happen to your feet when you have diabetes:
A major complication of diabetes is decreased blood flow to your arms and legs. This is known as peripheral vascular disease. When the blood flow isn’t normal to your extremities, it leads to slow wound healing. This in turn may lead to diabetic foot ulcers, or in severe cases, gangrene and amputation.
Another common complication of diabetes is nerve damage, especially in your legs and feet. When you have damage to these nerves, you aren’t able to feel sensations like you should. This means you could get a cut and not even know it’s there. This is a problem, because if you don’t know of a wound, it could become severely infected before you can get treatment.
When you have diabetes, you’re at a higher risk of both of the above problems. This could lead to a number of different foot conditions, including fungal infections and diabetic foot ulcers. But you can prevent further issues by knowing what signs to look out for on your feet.
Knowing what to look for can help you prevent serious complications or infections to your feet. Five common signs of a diabetic foot problem include:
Diabetes affects the blood flow in your body, especially in your legs and feet, and open wounds need a good blood supply in order for them to heal properly. That’s why if you have diabetes, you may notice a cut on your foot doesn’t heal as quickly as it should.
Changes in the skin color could be a sign of decreased blood flow to your feet. This is usually caused by peripheral vascular disease, which is sometimes caused by diabetes. If you notice this problem, contact Dr. McAlister right away.
Dry skin on your feet isn’t uncommon, but it leads to problems when you have diabetes. Dry skin cracks, which allows bacteria to enter your skin. If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease, this could lead to skin infections within your feet.
While foot odor isn’t always something to worry about, it is when you have diabetes. This could signal that you have a bad infection in your feet or toes, usually due to a wound you aren’t able to feel, and that’s become infected.
Corns and calluses are caused by an abnormal buildup of skin. Corns usually occur on or between your toes, while calluses form underneath your foot. Both conditions can be caused by poorly fitting shoes, and may lead to infection.
While you’ll need treatment if you have any of the above signs of a diabetic problem in your feet, there are steps you can take to help prevent foot issues. If you have diabetes, proper foot care is essential to preventing foot problems. Some of the steps you can take include:
If you notice any changes in your feet, it’s important you see Dr. McAlister as soon as possible. This could prevent you from developing minor problems that could eventually lead to infection or other serious complications.
Don’t let a diabetic foot problem get worse — call us at 602-761-7819 to schedule a consultation with Dr. McAlister, or book an appointment online with us today.