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Foot Problems Related to Diabetes


Foot Problems Related to Diabetes

People with diabetes who have high blood sugar levels are at risk for foot problems. High blood sugar levels:

  • Cause nerve damage and poor blood circulation, which decrease feeling in the feet. This means that you can injure your feet and not know it.
  • Decrease the body's ability to fight infection. Injuries, such as blisters or ingrown toenails, may heal more slowly and are more likely to become infected.

Foot sores (ulcers) can develop from calluses or blisters caused by friction or rubbing from wearing ill-fitting shoes. Ulcers can also develop from untreated cuts or wounds on the feet.

Foot infections can become severe and travel up the leg and into the bones, which may lead to amputation.

Other foot problems are more common in people with diabetes and can be caused by a breakdown of foot joints and bones (Charcot foot), ill-fitting shoes, or other problems.

Foot problems are usually treated by keeping blood sugar levels in a target blood sugar range and by using medicines, surgery, and other types of treatment.

All people with diabetes should check their feet regularly for problems. Regular foot exams by health professionals are important as well.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last RevisedNovember 2, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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