How Can Diabetes Affect Patient's Feet?

Nerve damage and impaired blood flow that are associated with diabetes can cause serious foot problems.

Due to nerve damage, patients may not feel pain, heat or cold in their legs and feet. For example, they may not feel a pebble inside their sock, or a blister as a result of poorly fitting shoes. Sores can become infected and high sugar levels in the patients' blood may worsen these infections. Nerve damage in diabetics is also associated with feet pain, deformities, muscular disorders, or bone changes.

Poor blood flow to the legs and feet (peripheral artery disease) implicates the healing process of a sore or an infection. Sometimes, a severe infection never heals, possibly leading to gangrene. The skin area around the sore becomes black and smelly because of the cellular death (tissue necrosis). Prevention of gangrene is based on prompt attention to any sore or infection on toe or foot. Therapeutic management may include:
1. Antibiotic administration.
2. Removal of necrotic tissue by surgical means.
3. Techniques that aim to improve blood flow through the diseased vessels.
4. Amputation (surgical removal of a body part, such as toe, foot, or part of the leg).

12 Steps to Prevent Diabetic Foot


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