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Diabetic Feet

Diabetes is a disease that develops from high blood glucose levels which can cause damage to the nerve systems in your body by stopping important messages getting to and from your brain. The nerves most likely to be affected are the longest ones – those that reach all the way down to your legs and feet. High blood glucose levels can also damage your blood vessels and thereby circulation to your feet and legs, due to less blood getting to your skin, muscles and tissues.

What are the symptoms?

One of the early changes can be the loss of sensation in your feet, often starting at the toes. Your chances of losing feeling in your feet (neuropathy) will increase with the number of years that you have diabetes and research suggests that up to one in three people with diabetes have some loss of sensation. Very occasionally pain or a burning sensation may accompany the loss of feeling (painful neuropathy).

Diabetic Feet
Diabetic Feet

When should I see a podiatrist about it?

If you experience any form of neuropathy or pain or discomfort, it is advisable to consult your Diabetic Clinic or Podiatrist, since it is possible in many cases to alleviate these symptoms.

If you see any of the following in your feet, you should also seek medical attention or consult your Podiatrist:
Walking becomes more difficult
Applying or wearing shoes becomes more difficult
Tingling sensation or pins and needles
Part or all of your foot becomes swollen
Breaks in the skin opens sores/blisters or a discharge
Skin colour changes (redder, bluer, paler, blacker) over part or all of the foot
Swelling in your feet and/or an unusual odour
Part or all of your foot feels much hotter or colder than usual
Hard skin (callus)
Cramp in your calves
Shiny smooth skin and/or losing hair on your feet and legs

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Tony Whitehead


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