Diabetes can be a hazard to your feet – even a small cut can produce serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Because of these problems, you may not notice a foreign object in your shoe. As a result you could develop a blister or a sore. This could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put you at risk for an amputation and debilitating nerve pain.
It's important to understand the connection between diabetes and foot care. The American Diabetes Association estimates that one in five people with diabetes who seek hospital care do so for foot problems. By taking proper care of your feet, most serious health problems associated with diabetes can be prevented. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider or a podiatrist (foot doctor) right away.
• You may feel pain in your legs or cramping in your buttocks, thighs, or calves during physical activity.
• Your feet may tingle, burn, or hurt.
• You may lose the sense of touch or not be able to feel heat or cold very well.
• The color and temperature of your feet may change.
• You may lose hair on your toes, feet, and lower legs.
• The skin on your feet may become dry and cracked.
• Your toenails may turn thick and yellow.
• Fungus infections such as athlete's foot may appear between your toes.
• You may experience blisters, sores, ulcers, infected corns, and ingrown toenails.
Many of these serious problems can be prevented by taking good care of your feet and your health:
• Manage your diabetes, including keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar (glucose) and
cholesterol at levels your health care provider recommends.
• Don't smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to the feet.
• Make healthy food choices.
• Stay at a healthy weight.
• Be physically active every day.
• Take your medicines even when you feel good.
• Have your doctor give you a comprehensive foot exam every time you visit (but at least four times a year).
• Check your feet for sores and other injuries every day.
• Wear shoes that fit right and do not rub or pinch your feet, or cause blisters.
• Never walk barefoot or while wearing just socks.
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