How does uncontrolled diabetes affect your feet?
High blood sugars can weaken your immune system and allow bacteria and fungus a greater chance of settling into your skin and toenails. This in turn can make your toenails thicker and more difficult to cut on your own. Thicker toenails can also cause more pressure against your toes themselves making them more susceptible to injury including ingrown nails.
Blood flow necessary to heal an injury to your feet or carry antibiotics to cure an infection can be reduced when your diabetes is uncontrolled. Limited blood flow can also cause pain in the thighs and legs and limit the distance you are able to walk.
High sugars in the blood can lead to nerve damage. This can result in burning and tingling pain in your feet. More ominously, it can diminish sensation and result in numbness putting you at risk for injury including a foot ulcer or wound. Nerves that control the muscles in your feet can also be damaged resulting in changes to the shape of your feet. This in turn can result in higher pressure points and possibly a loss of balance when walking.
Close adherence to your primary care doctor’s medications and recommend guidelines including nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modifications will go a long way to preventing the unwanted consequences of uncontrolled diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes for several years, it is important to be made aware of the current state of your foot health by seeing your podiatrist so that you can avoid future problems.
This includes reviewing your shoe wear, daily foot hygiene practice, and having your blood flow and protective sensation professionally assessed. While you will have many doctors helping you to manage your diabetes, you are the most critical person involved in your care and have the greatest impact on your own health.
We look forward to seeing you in our office.