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Symptoms of Diabetes in Feet

Many people across the world struggle with diabetes. There is so much to manage if you are suffering from diabetes, which might include constantly checking your blood sugar, focusing on a healthy diet, taking regular medicine, and many more. Added to all these things, you also need to pay attention to the symptoms of diabetes in your feet. This is because diabetes is associated with several foot complications.

How Can Diabetes Cause Feet Problem?

Problems in feet are commonly seen in diabetics. They can appear over time when there is damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the feet because of a high level of blood sugar. When there is nerve damage in your feet, there might be numbness, pain, tingling, or even loss of feeling in the feet.

Again, when one cannot feel pain, they might not know if they get a cut, wound, ulcer, or blister on their feet and such a wound might get infected. The infected feet might not heal easily because there might be a poor flow of blood in the feet due to the damaged blood vessels.

Infection along with poor blood flow can result in gangrene, which means that the skin, muscle, and other tissues begin to die. The hardest thing that you might have to experience if you have gangrene or ulcers in your feet is that they might need an amputation or a surgery that would cut off the damaged foot, toe, or any other part of the leg.

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Feet

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Feet

Usually, diabetes occurs because of insulin deficiency or insulin resistance.(1) If someone has diabetes, they might experience a lot of symptoms and some could even lead to serious complications. Out of all these, foot problems are one of those symptoms of diabetes. Below we will take a look at some of the conditions and symptoms of diabetes in feet.

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Feet If You Have Diabetic Neuropathy

If you have diabetes that gets uncontrolled, there can be nerve damage. If the nerve in your feet or legs gets damaged, you might experience diabetic neuropathy where there would be feeling no pain, hot, or cold. Moreover, when the muscles of your feet would not properly work when there is damage to the muscles or nerves, then your feet would not align properly and generate an excess of pressure on that specific part of your feet.

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Feet If You Have Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) 

One more condition that might occur due to diabetes is PVD or Peripheral Vascular Disease. The blood flow is also affected when you have diabetes. When there is no proper flow of blood, any wound or cut takes a long time to heal. A poor flow of blood in the legs and arms is known as peripheral vascular disease or PVD. Patients have a greater risk of developing ulcers or gangrene when they suffer from PVD.

Around 7% of patients with PVD develop diabetic foot ulcers every year.(2)

Moreover, peripheral vascular disease can also result in nerve damage that can cause numbness in the feet.(3) With this, patients cannot feel sensations in their extremities. This condition would also make it hard for the patients to feel soreness, irritation, or infection in their feet or arms.

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Feet If You Have Bullous Diabeticorum 

Diabetes also increases the risk of developing Bullous diabeticorum, which is a condition that refers to the spontaneous formation of blisters.(4) Blisters can get infected, resulting in pain and there might be an increased risk of the infection getting spread throughout the body. So, the formation of blisters is one of the major symptoms of diabetes in the feet.

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Feet In General

Diabetic Blisters: The formation of blisters in the feet is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes in the feet. If blisters are not treated, then it could result in severe complications.

Diabetic Ulcers: One more symptom of diabetes in the feet is the appearance of diabetic ulcers. Ulcers may make walking quite painful. If left untreated, they can damage the foot and lead to infection.

Diabetic Calluses: Calluses are regions of hard and thickened skin cells. The primary problem with calluses is that they improve the chances of ulcers and infections. These calluses must be kept clean to protect your feet.

Foot Infections: Diabetic ulcers get can get infected and these infections might spread to the bloodstream and damage various organs and even be life-threatening. Foot infections might also cause a Charcot foot (change in the shape of the foot)

The Charcot foot increases your risk of developing more ulcers.(5)

When To Consult With Your Doctor?

You should see a podiatrist quite often if you have diabetes. However, you should seek immediate medical attention and consult with your doctor if you experience certain symptoms of diabetes in your feet. Check below to know about these symptoms.

  • Changes in skin color of the affected foot
  • Swelling in the feet or ankle
  • Temperature changes in the feet
  • Pain or tingling in the feet.
  • Persistent sores on the feet
  • Dry and cracked skin on heels
  • Signs of infections.
  • Ingrown toenails in the feet
  • Fungal infections in the feet.

What Are The Ways To Take Care Of Diabetes In Feet?

If you have diabetes, you should take extra care of your feet. Below are some of the ways through which you can take care of diabetes in your feet.

  • Examine your feet regularly to check for any injuries or symptoms.
  • Daily wash your feet properly and prevent them from infection.
  • Wear supportive socks and shoes to protect your feet at all times. You might be recommended by your podiatrist to wear special shoes that might help to prevent deformities in your feet.
  • Trim your nails on the feet carefully.
  • Treat bunions and corns carefully.
  • Do not expose your feet to extreme hot and cold temperatures as they can damage your feet if you have diabetes.
  • Promote the flow of blood to your feet. This can be done by putting your feet up while sitting, wiggling the toes quite often, and doing certain foot exercises.
  • Avoid smoking as this can adversely affect blood flow to the tissues and can worsen foot problems if you have diabetes.
  • Try to control the levels of blood sugar, since uncontrolled blood sugars can increase the risk of complications in your feet.

Final Words

If you have diabetes and notice any of the symptoms in your feet, make sure to have a podiatric check and ensure that these problems in your feet do not lead to any complications. You must follow the advice of your doctor and take care of your feet accordingly.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2022

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