Diabetic neuropathy is one of the complications of diabetes due to very high sugar levels in the blood. This serious problem can lead to severe and often, permanent damage to the nerves in the body. It is therefore important to be alert to make sure you detect the earliest signs of diabetic neuropathy to start treatment and lifestyle changes.
Diabetic foot pain usually happens at night and here are the symptoms to watch out for:
- Insensitivity to changes in temperature
- Numbness, tingling, or prickling in the feet
- Burning sensation
- Cramps and sharp pains
- Weak muscles
- Pain in the joints and bones
- Lack of ankle reflex response
If you have the following symptoms, you should talk to a foot specialist, endocrinologist, or a general physical right away:
- A wound, sore, or cut on your feet that take so long to heal or has become infected
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Tingling or weakness that stop you from doing daily activities or even falling asleep
- Abnormal changes in your reproductive, digestive, or urinary system function
A foot ulcer is something you should be really concerned about. If left untreated, it can develop gangrene, which will need surgery or often, amputation. Ulcers are wounds or sores that don’t heal over time, so make sure you seek treatment as soon as possible. This picture of an actual patient suffering from diabetic foot ulcer should worry you.
How to Care for Your Feet
Diabetes can lead to foot problems, which is why you should know what to do since your risk is high:
- Make sure you check your feet every day. Look for sores or blisters – even very small ones so you can talk to your doctor about it right away.
- Wash your feet and dry properly. This is a must to keep your feet free from microbes that can cause infection. Use lukewarm water and mild soap so as not to damage your skin.
- Cut your toenails straight across. Do this whether you have diabetes or not. It helps if you trim after washing your feet, since the nails become softer. Cutting straight across can prevent ingrown toenails.
- Don’t go barefoot. Walking barefoot is recommended by many health experts because it has many health benefits, but this isn’t right for you if you have diabetes. This can lead to cuts especially if you walk outside. If you have sores, you should avoid walking barefoot at home as well.
During every visit, your doctor should examine both your legs and your feet. A foot doctor or a podiatrist is helpful, especially for aging patients with type 2 diabetes.