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How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Most people know diabetes as a common health condition that impacts your body’s ability to make and use insulin, an important hormone that controls blood sugar levels. However, fewer people are aware of the effects diabetes has on your feet. 

Having diabetes increases your risk of developing complicated health problems in your feet, and about half of people with diabetes experience foot pain. Another 10% of people with diabetes develop foot ulcers, which increases their likelihood of amputation. 

Fortunately, you can do many things to keep your feet healthy if you have diabetes and even stop any problems before they start. At Arlington/Mansfield Foot and Ankle Centers, our board-certified providers have years of experience giving the best diabetic foot care to patients in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas.

We want you to understand how diabetes can affect your feet, how you can keep your feet healthy, and how we can help. Take a moment to find out more. 

The connection between diabetes and foot health

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar (glucose) levels are naturally higher than people without the condition. When glucose levels are uncontrolled, damage occurs to your nerves and circulatory system. 

The nerve endings in your feet are the most affected by this damage because they’re the farthest from your heart, which is why diabetes increases your risk of developing problems with your feet. 

Two main health issues arise from nerve damage in your feet: peripheral vascular disease and diabetic neuropathy. Developing one or both conditions increases your risk of developing even more foot complications. 

Peripheral vascular disease

When diabetes is unmanaged, significant damage to your blood vessels and circulatory system can occur. This leads to peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a condition where the blood vessels in your legs and feet are blocked and don’t circulate enough blood.

If you develop PVD, any minor injuries or wounds you have heal slowly, which can be dangerous for your foot health.    

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that causes a loss of sensation in the feet and extremities. This can make it difficult to feel when you have cut your foot, developed blisters, or irritated the skin of your feet. 

This lack of sensation increases the risk of infection in the wounds and for gangrene to set in. All people with diabetes are at a higher risk of needing foot or limb amputation because of this. 

Keeping your diabetic feet healthy

Diabetes is a serious health condition with serious complications when unmanaged, but the good news is that when it is managed, you can avoid a lot of these complications. You can do many things to minimize your risk of foot complications and keep your feet healthy, so here’s where to start. 

The underlying reason your feet are at higher risk for complications is your uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Getting your blood sugar under control helps prevent or slow nerve damage and foot pain.

On top of managing your blood sugar, we have some other great tips to help you avoid foot health issues:

Avoiding open shoes like flip-flops and walking barefoot to reduce your chances of cutting your feet or getting wounds.

How we can help keep your diabetic feet healthy 

The team at Arlington/Mansfield Foot and Ankle Centers has years of experience providing the best in diabetic foot care. We offer both preventive and acute care to keep your feet as healthy as possible. 

Visiting your provider annually for a preventative foot care exam is the first step in maintaining good foot health. Your preventative exam allows your provider to catch and treat any issues early on before major complications occur. 

If you develop any problematic symptoms, don’t wait for your next exam to see your provider. Take care to look out for these warning signs, and be sure to call our office to schedule an appointment if you experience any: 

If you want to learn more about foot health with diabetes, or if you’re worried about a current foot condition, we’re here to help. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at the Arlington/Mansfield Foot and Ankle Centers office nearest you.

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