One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is a numb or tingling sensation in the feet. Peripheral neuropathy is a painful condition for diabetics since the nerves that carry feelings to the brain do not function as they should. The problem can be temporarily fixed by putting an ice pack on the foot and letting it rest, but if you don’t take care of it, you could hurt your foot for good.
Diabetic foot pain can affect the entire lower extremity and even the torso. It’s vital to handle diabetic foot problems as quickly as possible. Neglecting minor foot problems can lead to serious foot problems that may involve amputation.
What is Diabetic Foot Pain?
Diabetic foot pain is a long-lasting and often painful condition that can lead to ulcers and the amputation of toes or even whole feet. It is not uncommon for many people with diabetes to develop a painful condition in their feet and legs. However, some people experience more intense symptoms than others.
Diabetic foot pain occurs due to poor blood flow, which damages the nerves of the feet through it. This happens when blood flowing through your feet does not carry enough oxygen to your tissues, making it challenging for them to function properly. The result is that you can’t use your muscles properly and your feet hurt all the time.
How Does Diabetes Cause Foot Problems?
Diabetes is a severe condition that causes damage to blood vessels and the body’s organs. It can lead to many complications, including foot problems. Diabetes affects people of all ages but often develops during the middle period. People with diabetes are more likely to experience foot problems than those who do not have the disease.
Diabetes can cause foot problems in the following ways:
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease develops when blood flowing through your legs and feet is restricted because of high blood sugar. This leads to poor blood circulation, which can cause nerve damage. PAD can result in ulcers and gangrene, which are serious injuries.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage found between your brain and spinal cord in your limbs. This will lead to numbness, tingling, or pain in your feet, legs, or toes. If you have had high blood sugar for a long time, this condition may worsen due to nerve damage.
If left untreated, diabetes can affect more than just your eyes; it can also affect your feet and legs. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends strict blood glucose control to treat peripheral neuropathy. If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor about any foot problems you may have to prevent diabetic foot pain or get treatment if you are already infected.
Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy
The identifiable symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are numbness, tingling, and burning pain. The symptoms can vary depending on where the nerves are affected. When you have neuropathy, the nerve fibers may become less sensitive to messages from your brain. The result is a gradual loss of feeling in your hands and feet, which can also affect other body parts.
Diabetic neuropathy may also cause a burning or shooting pain that worsens at night. You may also feel tingling in your fingers and toes and pins-and-needles sensations shooting up your legs. Serious infections lead to sensitivity to cold temperatures or hot temperatures that would not usually hurt you before diagnosis. You will also experience aches in the legs after physical activity or if you walk barefoot.
Treatment for Diabetic Foot Pain
The first step to treating diabetic foot ulcers is to determine if you have an actual ulcer or if it’s just a cut or blister. Your doctor will check if you have uncontrolled blood sugar. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your foot doctor will probably ask you to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and check them when you feel a change in symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are widely used to treat diabetic foot pain. Your foot doctor may also suggest physical therapy or acupuncture to help reduce the stress on your feet and legs.
Powerful anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce swelling and inflammation in your feet and legs. Still, they carry risks of side effects such as infection or severe kidney disease if taken long-term without close monitoring by a doctor.
How to Protect your Feet if you have Diabetes Complications.
You can keep your feet healthy by wearing shoes with good arch support. Wear shoes made of materials that are non-slip and cushioned. You should also wear socks that fit well and cover all foot areas, especially between the toes and the heel. This help prevents friction between your skin and the shoe, which can cause sores or ulcers on your feet.
If possible, avoid walking barefoot whenever possible or wearing sandals or flip-flops if you must walk in them. Wear closed-toe shoes when you must walk outside as much as possible because they provide more protection against dirt and debris that could cut into your feet if exposed for long periods.
If complications from diabetes make it hard for you to walk because of pain in your feet or legs, your doctor might give you ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Find a Professional Diabetic Foot Care Specialist Near You
If you are experiencing diabetic foot pain, the Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute can help you get back on your feet. Diabetic foot care specialists will thoroughly examine your feet and legs to determine if you have any underlying health issues. They will also provide recommendations for how to best prevent diabetic neuropathy and similar complications from developing in the future. We are determined to help our patients live a life free from pain, regardless of their type of diabetes. Call 801-756-4200 and book an appointment with us.