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Why Diabetics Are Susceptible to Foot Problems

When you have diabetes, your body’s inability to produce or properly use the hormone insulin can lead to a range of problems — including those that affect your feet. In fact, foot disease affects nearly 6% of people with diabetes. And even seemingly minor issues with your feet could lead to something more serious without proper care. 

At Oexeman Foot and Ankle, PLLC, in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Stephanie Oexeman and her team are pleased to provide complete care for diabetic feet

Read on to learn more about diabetes and foot health, including ways we can help.

Why diabetes can lead to foot problems

Diabetes makes you more vulnerable to foot problems because of damage related to high blood sugar levels. Over time, these high levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your feet. 

While anyone with diabetes can develop these issues, diabetic foot disease is more likely if you have:

  • Peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, or previous foot problems
  • High cholesterol or blood pressure levels
  • Poor circulation
  • Nerve damage

Diabetic foot conditions are also more likely if you aren't willing or able to follow your diabetes treatment plan.

Types of diabetes foot problems

Diabetic foot problems can take numerous forms. You could develop one issue or several at different severities throughout your life. And in some cases, one leads to another. Specific foot issues linked with diabetes include:

  • Tingling in your feet
  • Complete loss of feeling in your feet
  • Nerve pain
  • Foot wounds that won’t heal
  • Infected foot wounds
  • Gangrene, or an infection from the death of muscle, skin, and other tissues

You might develop numbness in your feet due to diabetic neuropathy, for example. That numbness may keep you from noticing a small cut or blister. And if that cut or blister worsens and becomes infected, it could lead to the need for amputation in severe cases.

How to take care of your feet 

In addition to following your doctor-recommended diabetes treatment, including taking any needed medications properly and eating a healthy diet, seeing Dr. Stephanie Oexeman regularly can help protect your feet. She can track your foot health, treat existing foot problems, and address any symptoms that crop up before they grow worse.

She may also recommend that you:

  • Check your feet daily for blisters, cuts, and cracks
  • Keep your toenails properly trimmed and filed (straight across, versus rounded)
  • Wear shoes and socks whenever you’re not sleeping
  • Wash your feet every day
  • Wear compression stockings

If you notice anything unusual about your feet, schedule an exam promptly. Otherwise, our team recommends the ideal frequency of your visits.

To learn more about diabetes-related foot conditions or to get the care you need, call our office or book an appointment online today.