A condition called peripheral neuropathy can occur when blood sugar levels are not well controlled, and can put your feet at risk for problems. It occurs in as many as 70 percent of diabetes patients, and can be dangerous. With peripheral neuropathy, the peripheral nerves in your body (hands and feet) become damaged. This can result in the following sensations in your feet:
- Shooting pain
- Sensitivity to touch
- Trouble moving the foot normally
When you have decreased sensation in your feet, you could get an injury or infection in your foot and not know it. The normal sensations of pain in your foot can be dulled, and you may not realize there is a problem. This could lead to the infection spreading, even from a small cut or blister. Diabetes can also hinder your body’s ability to fight infections, which can further complicate the problem. In severe cases, a foot or limb may need to be amputated.
What to do if you have neuropathy
To avoid these potential problems, you can do a few things for your feet and your body as a whole. If you have neuropathy, you should see a podiatrist regularly, and work with your physician to keep your blood sugar well controlled. The earlier the neuropathy is treated, the more likely you can minimize the damage and treat the symptoms.
People with neuropathy need to take special care of their feet each day. Here are a few things you can do to ensure the health of your feet:
- Wear properly fitting, supportive shoes to help avoid blisters and rubbing that could injure the skin.
- Wear socks to help cushion and protect your feet.
- Use a good foot cream on your heels to prevent cracking.
- Wash and dry your feet daily, making sure you dry between the toes to prevent fungus from developing.
- Check your feet daily for blisters, corns, calluses, or other issues, including between the toes.
- Do not go barefoot, outside or inside.
- Don’t try to self-treat corns or other issues with corn removers. Have your physician take care of these issues to ensure your safety.
On some occasions, neuropathy is the first indication that someone has diabetes. If you think you have neuropathy in your feet, talk to your physician right away. Neuropathy may also be caused by other factors such as medications, heredity, and neurological conditions, so your physician will evaluate your symptoms and determine the cause.
Do you have neuropathy or another concern with your feet? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can work with you to keep your feet healthy.