Diabetes & Foot Problems: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Feet & What You Can Do About It

There are many long-term effects that can stem from diabetes if not kept under control. Damage to the large blood vessels can lead to cardiovascular disease while small blood vessel damage can create issues with the kidneys, eyes and nerves. This can then bring on problems with the feet, affecting your ability to walk.

Though these issues may seem drastic, if kept in check from early on diabetes can be a manageable disease. What can cause foot problems and what can you do to stop it?

Poor Blood Flow

Cholesterol forms plaque within the walls of the blood vessels, which narrows the passageways. The smaller the insides of the vessels become, the harder your heart has to work to pump the blood, which increases blood pressure. This heightens the risk of cardiovascular issues, and can lead to broken capillaries.

Poor blood flow also makes it difficult for a wound or infection to heal. When blood flow is poor through the legs, it can lead to unhealed sores on the feet. If an infection cannot heal, in some cases, amputation is necessary.

Nerve Damage

Having too much glucose – or sugar – in the blood can lead to nerve damage. Damage to the nerves in the feet may cause you to lose feeling in those areas. Losing feeling in the feet could mean that you won’t notice a sore rubbing or an infection forming. The glucose can also feed into the infection, so it may be getting worse without you knowing it was ever there in the first place.

What Can You Do?

Don’t Smoke. Smoking can reduce blood flow to the feet.

Stay Active. It’s more common to see poor blood flow amongst those who are overweight. Stay physically active and at a healthy weight to help keep your diabetes in check.

Eat Fruits & Vegetables. Stray far away from soft drinks. Eat more foods from the earth. If you need to raise your blood sugar do it through fresh or dried fruits.

Take Your Medicine. Even if you’re feeling okay, make sure you keep taking your medicine. The goal is to stay in control of your diabetes. Your medicine, along with a healthy lifestyle, can help you do that.

Keep Up With Your Feet. You should inspect your feet at least once a day for any sores or wounds that may have popped up. Particularly if there is already nerve damage to your feet and it’s difficult for you to notice pain or temperature in those areas. It’s also a good idea to have your doctor give your feet a thorough foot exam at least four times a year. Many serious foot issue can be prevented simply by managing your diabetes and keeping a strong watch on your feet.