How Diabetes Affects Your Feet

Diabetes has wide-ranging effects on the body, which comes as no surprise to the individuals who live with the disease. This metabolic condition affects the body’s ability to produce insulin and causes elevated blood sugar levels. Given that blood is responsible for providing nourishment throughout the entire body, it is easy to understand how the effects can be so far-reaching. Blood already has the furthest path to travel down to the feet. When your circulation is compromised because of this disease, the importance of diabetic foot care becomes quite clear.

Two issues that often accompany diabetes can have a particularly concerning effect on the feet—neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). With the first, nerve damage prevents the peripheral nerves (the ones responsible for reporting stimuli to the spinal column and brain) from performing their job. With the second, your feet don’t receive the nutrients they need for healthy cell function.

Diabetic neuropathy creates a dangerous situation where damage can be sustained but go unnoticed—and untreated—leading to the potential for infections, Charcot foot, and gangrene. Charcot foot is even more likely when diabetes also results in PAD.

Peripheral arterial disease is a condition that has a negative effect on blood circulation. Hardened, narrowed blood vessels lead to reduced blood flow, which deprives tissues of essential nutrients. When bones do not receive the nourishment they need, they become brittle and can break easily. If damaged nerves are unable to report the injury, an individual can keep walking as normal and continue to break and re-break bones until the foot is misshapen and deformed.

Beyond nerve and circulatory problems, diabetes also negatively affects the immune system, so the body is unable to effectively fight against disease or perform healing functions in a normal manner. Thus, diabetic foot ulcers are a main reason for lower limb amputations in diabetic individuals.

If you live with the disease and do not already have a diabetic foot care plan in place, come in and see our medical professionals at Advanced Foot and Ankle. We can help you create a plan that will keep you safe and healthy, and greatly reduce your risk of sustaining a serious condition. Contact us by calling our Twin Falls, ID podiatrist office at (208) 731-6321 for more information. You can also reach our Burley office at (208) 312-4646 or schedule your appointment at either location online today.

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