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How Diabetes Affects Foot Care

Diabetes affects our feet in more ways than we suspect.  The two most common foot problems that exist in people with diabetes are peripheral neuropathy and peripheral artery disease.  Both of these diseases will lead to serious problems in the feet if they are not treated properly.  Both are common in that they damage blood vessels and peripheral nerves.  We’ll explore both diseases in depth:

Peripheral neuropathy is the damage of peripheral nerves in the feet due to diabetes.  Symptoms of this disease are a lack or decrease of sensation in the foot’s nerves, which makes it much more difficult to feel pain in the affected areas; pain and burning in the feet; and a tingling sensation.  While all of these symptoms are highly noticeable, they may also be confused with symptoms from other foot disorders.  Go to a doctor for the proper diagnosis.

With peripheral neuropathy, a patient can suffer from misalignment in the foot, muscles working incorrectly, and pressure on the nerves which results in pain.

Peripheral artery disease, which is also referred to as peripheral vascular disease, is the narrowing of arteries by atherosclerotic plaques.  However, peripheral artery disease only refers to arteries outside of the heart and the brain.  Diabetes is a key factor in the development of peripheral artery disease.  While it’s possible for someone without diabetes to develop it, diabetes results in a lower amount of oxygen that is delivered to the feet, which in turn greatly increases the likelihood of developing the disease.  In the most extreme of cases, a lack of oxygen can lead to more serious diseases developing such as gangrene and ulcers.

Beyond that, people who have diabetes simply have an increased risk of developing foot diseases.  Examples include ulcers, corns, calluses, bunions, hammertoes, infections, skin dryness, and gangrene.  Gangrene in particular can be very life threatening, as it is the death of tissue as a result of now blood circulation, leading to bacterial infections.  However, many foot problems with diabetes can be prevented from controlling blood sugar levels and enacting proper foot care.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum is a Podiatric Physician and Surgeon serving patients in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

Do you have questions or concerns?

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16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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