How can Diabetes affect my feet?
Local Geelong Podiatrist, Marney Cowell, explains how diabetes affects your feet and how you can best prevent complications occurring.
Diabetes can cause changes to a many body systems, especially a person’s foot health. Diabetic clients need to make sure that they are monitoring their blood sugar levels regularly and keeping aiming to maintain levels between 5-8mmol/L. Having poorly controlled blood sugar levels increases the risk of complications throughout the body but we’ll focus on looking at how this can affect our feet.
What can happen?
- Changes to sensation:
Over time the high blood sugar levels begin to damage the nerves in the body. You may begin to experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling or pins and needles. This is known as peripheral neuropathy, meaning that the sensation to your feet is reduced or altered.
- Reduced blood flow:
As a result of high sugar levels your arteries become blocked, making it harder for blood to travel around the body. Blood flow is very important for healing, transporting nutrients and oxygen around the body. You may find that your feet are cold to touch, pale in colour or you may experience cramping when exercising.
What does this mean for my feet?
If your assessment results show that you have a poor blood supply and/or a reduction in sensation to your feet, you are at an increased risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer. Due to the complications of having reduced circulation and sensation this may take an extended period of time to heal and you are at risk of getting an infection.
It is rare but you may also experience changes to your foot shape from diabetes – the condition is called charcot neuropathy and the foot becomes a rocker shape.
What can you do to make sure that you prevent any of these changes occurring to you?
- Monitor your blood sugar levels
- Check in with your Podiatrist once a year for a foot health assessment
- Get help with your skin and nail care if you can’t complete it safely.
- Wear protective footwear to prevent any injury to your feet
- Check your feet daily for any changes
We are always here to help and if you have any questions regarding your feet or Diabetes please feel free to get in contact.