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What Can Cause Diabetes Foot Pain: Treatment, Symptoms, Prevention

Diabetes can slow you down, it can make your life different. But it must not stop you!” Scott Verplank, an American golfer who comes up with these great words in his Type 1 diabetes conditions surely inspires many of the fellow people suffering from diabetes. However, it is also true when we look upon the entire condition of a patient with diabetes it is perhaps not the one which could keep him normal with his routine and life style. There are some really serious symptoms which keeps him restricted from many things in his life. Apart from all the major symptoms there can be one of the major troublesome signs seen with the diabetic foot where the blood flow to the foot gets restricted and in turn the foot gets deprived from oxygen and various other nutrients. This in turn causes severe foot pain that would trouble the sufferer greatly. There are many other reasons leading to the diabetes foot pain or diabetic foot pain which will be discussed in the article below.

So this current article will revolve around the facts of Diabetes Foot Pain or Diabetic Foot Pain where we will be discussing on the facts about the foot pain in diabetes, various factors causing the diabetes foot pain or diabetic foot pain and also talk about the diabetic foot care so as to prevent and reduce the foot pain in diabetes. So let us go through the following array of the content and have an idea about the diabetes foot pain.

What Can Cause Diabetes Foot Pain

Facts About Diabetes Foot Pain Or Foot Pain In Diabetic Patients:

  • Though there are many factors causing diabetes foot pain, the Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and the Peripheral neuropathy are the two main conditions which might cause the increased risk of various foot problems in diabetic patients.
  • There are increased chances of having the risk of ulcers and damage to feet in diabetes.
  • There are various foot problems seen in patients with diabetes. Some of the major foot problems during diabetes conditions includes the bunions, fungal infections, hammertoes, corns & calluses, dryness of the skin etc.
  • There may be a necessity of surgery so as to treat some of the foot problems in diabetes.
  • There are many diabetic foot problems which can be prevented by controlling the blood sugar level in diabetes and an absolute foot care.

What Can Cause Diabetes Foot Pain Or Foot Pain In Diabetic Patients?

There are some major factors which causes the foot pain in diabetes. Let us study some of the common and crucial factors leading to the diabetic foot pain.

  1. Nerve Problems Leading To Foot Pain in Diabetic Patients: Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common conditions which lead to foot pain in diabetes. In this condition, there is damage to the nerve in the diabetic feet which causes the pain and other neuropathic symptoms in the foot like burning, tingling, etc. Basically there are three major types of neuropathy seen in diabetes foot pain, namely the sensory neuropathy, motor neuropathy and the autonomic neuropathy.
    • Diabetes Foot Pain Caused Due To Sensory Neuropathy: This is one of the painful conditions where you get the pain even while putting your legs on the bed, touching your feet or doing any simple and sedentary works using feet. There are some other symptoms like burning, tingling and pain in the feet. Treatment for this may include massaging the feet with an appropriate foot cream, using the vitamin D preparation for pain relief and also taking the prescribed medicines along with the proper use of shoe inserts, orthotics etc providing enough of support and comfort to the feet might relax the pain.
    • Motor Neuropathy Causing Diabetes Foot Pain: This is another type of neuropathy which might impact the patient’s feet in diabetes. In these conditions, the nerve problem may also affect the muscles and result in painful and achy muscles, especially the thigh muscles, shin muscles and the muscles in the foot. Such a condition in diabetic foot pain may lead to walking imbalances. Treatment can be using the supportive shoes, making use of shoe inserts and other cushioned supports for the feet, working hard on walking balances, foot exercises, foot massage, medications etc.
    • Autonomic Neuropathy & Diabetic Foot Pain: Such a condition in diabetic foot pain includes the state where the neuropathy is caused in the parts which are not in our control. For instance, the sweating mechanism gets altered and in turn leads to many symptoms like the dry and affected cuticles, nails, etc, dryness in the skin and formation of calluses, blisters etc. Such a condition can be controlled with proper diabetic foot care like using regular toenail oil, foot cream massaging etc.
  2. Circulation Problems Causing Foot Pain in Diabetes: There may be a greater chance of foot pain in diabetes occurring due to the circulation issues. Because of the high blood sugar level in the arteries, capillaries, and the veins, there may be problem in circulation and which in turn causes various symptoms like pain in foot, numbness etc. You can feel the pain with simple touch to your feet even though numbness might be experienced. The fatty deposits due to high blood sugar content in the arteries, veins or the capillaries causes a blockage or insufficient blood flow to the foot which in turn gets deprived from the oxygen, and pain along with other troublesome symptoms may arise in the diabetic foot due to the same.
    Treatment and pain relief measures here include the doctors’ prescribed medications, foot massage, physical therapy etc.
  3. Muscle Problems Causing Foot Pain in Diabetic Patient: Muscle problem is commonly seen in diabetes foot pain and is due to the underlying reason of circulation problem and atrophy. Here the foot muscles, thigh muscles, calf muscles etc experiences a severe pain and may also lead to walking troubles. Proper foot care advices can be issued from the professional healthcare providers.
  4. Joint Problems Causing Foot Pain In Diabetic Patients: There are also the joint problems and issues of walking imbalances in diabetic patients caused due to the joint problems which are primarily the result of damage caused to the tendons and ligaments in diabetic conditions. Appropriate foot care includes prescribed medications, foot massage, foot exercises, use of shoe inserts etc.
  5. Foot Pain in Diabetes Patients Due To Infections: There are many fungal, viral and bacterial infections which lead to the foot pain in diabetes. Foot blisters, bunions, corns and calluses may be caused in diabetic conditions and this may cause severe foot pain in diabetes which requires proper foot care to get rid off. Fungal toenails are also caused due to this. Home remedies for foot pain in diabetes caused due to bacterial, viral or fungal infection may include the use of tea tree oil, seasam oil, etc in the foot and having proper massage.

Diabetes Foot Pain Symptoms Or Symptoms Of Foot Pain In Diabetic Patients Requiring Immediate Attention:

One of the truest sayings never been spoken comes as, “Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate!” Let us discuss on some of the important signs and symptoms of diabetes foot pain or foot pain in diabetic patients below.

  • Persistent pain in legs, feet, joints, and foot muscles due to nerve, joint and muscle problems.
  • Redness and swelling in the feet and legs due to inflammation.
  • Infections leading to calluses, corns, blisters etc seen in the feet, toenails, toes etc.
  • Numbness of the feet due to nerve problems in diabetic foot pain
  • Imbalances during walking may be a common symptom seen in diabetes foot pain which requires appropriate foot care.
  • Fever with chills due to foot pain may also a symptom to note down under diabetic foot care and requires an absolute treatment.

There are some other major and serious symptoms seen in diabetes foot pain which requires immediate medical treatment. We will be discussing about the same in the very next section below.

Serious Symptoms Of Diabetes Foot Pain Needing Immediate Care:

Let us list down the various critical conditions in diabetes foot pain which requires an immediate medical attention.

  • Severe pain at the foot for a lasting period may be caused due to peripheral neuropathy or may be due to loss of circulation to the foot in diabetes. This condition requires an immediate medical care.
  • There are chances of the infection, ulcers etc spreading to the surrounding tissues in the feet and legs in case of redness or red colored streak seen coming out from the wound at feet. This requires immediate medical treatment.
  • It is highly essential for every diabetic patient to seek immediate medical care in case of any wound like pricking, cutting etc and in case of bleeding from the wound.
  • Wound that goes across 1 inch deep in the feet or the legs may lead to limb-threatening infections in diabetes. Thus it is highly essential to take necessary medical treatments under such a condition.
  • There is a high degree of chances for limb damage or loss of the life in case a diabetic patient is suffering from fever higher than 101.5 degrees F, redness and warmth in the place of the affected area of the foot or leg, and severe foot pain at places of wound or ulcers in the legs or feet. Such a condition requires immediate medical care.
  • There is also an immediate requirement of medical treatment in case there occurs a kind of mental confusion in the diabetic patient with any sort of wound or infection in the diabetic feet.

Treatment & Care For Diabetes Foot Pain:

How about discussing some of the absolute foot care steps a diabetic must follow so as to relieve him from the foot pain due to diabetes? So here below let us discuss some of appropriate and hands on diabetic foot care steps.

  • Regular Examination of the Feet: Examining the feet on a regular basis under normal conditions as well as after any trauma is essential so as to know about any alarming features of the serious diabetes foot pain. Using moisturizing foot cream regularly help you prevent the cracks on foot from occurring and in turn helps in keeping the foot in a healthy condition.
  • Eliminate the Negative Ailments: Diabetic foot pain due to joints, muscle or nerve problem may lead to imbalanced walking. It is essential to keep away all the negative ailments or the obstacles that might add on to walking imbalances.
  • Toenail Trimming: It is one more important thing to keep in mind about diabetic foot care at home, i.e. the toenail trimming. Make sure you are cutting your foot nails in a careful manner and keeping the toes clean. By doing this you prevent self from any kind of infection leading to the foot pain in diabetes.
  • Appropriate Footwear: “Your world is designed with the pair of your shoes!” You must take crucial steps in choosing the appropriate and properly fitting shoes for your feet along with the essential comfort gifting ability. You can also make use of foot cushions in the shoes, like the shoe inserts or the orthotics so as to provide essential support to the feet and prevent self from much of the foot pain in diabetes.
  • Avoiding Smoking: Smoking increases the chances of damaging the blood vessels, especially the small blood vessels which in turn leads to an improper circulation of the blood. This circulation problem is one of the major causes leading to diabetes foot pain. So, in order to prevent the foot pain in diabetes, it is also advisable to quit smoking and help the proper circulation of blood and prevent foot pain due to blood circulation problem.
  • Proper Exercise: A proper and regular exercise, especially the leg exercises help in stronger and healthier joints and muscles of the legs and the feet which in turn aids in managing and preventing diabetes foot pain to a greater extent. There are also special physiotherapies, which can be done with proper consultation from the physiotherapist and help self from the diabetes foot pain.
  • Controlling Diabetes: “Controlling diabetes means controlling all the problems associated with it.” By following essential steps, having a regular blood sugar examination, following the diabetic diet, taking prescribed medications and having a proper consultation with the physician about the conditions will help you keep your diabetes in control and prevent you from any serious problems like diabetes foot pain.

Diabetes Foot Pain Prevention Note:

“People with high blood pressure, diabetes- those are the conditions brought by life style. By changing your lifestyle, those conditions will leave.” This is one of the sayings from Dick Gregory which clearly depicts that by maintaining a healthy and appropriate lifestyle one can maintain the serious conditions in diabetes. In case your diabetes is causing you problem with your foot and you are not able to take forward steps, then make a strong note on working harder on improving your lifestyle, getting the blood sugar level in control and giving a backward step to the diabetes foot pain with the proper foot care and a healthy life style. This way you can also help yourself from eradicating or reducing other symptoms of diabetes.

“Nobody said it is going to be easy. But somebody said it is not impossible!” Fight against the diabetic foot pain and take your steps ahead.


  1. American Diabetes Association. (2021). Foot Complications https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications/foot-complications
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Diabetic Neuropathy https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20371580
  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2017). Prevent diabetes problems: Keep your feet and skin healthy https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/foot-problems

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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:August 17, 2023

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