A telltale sign that you are on your way to developing diabetes is a condition called diabetic neuropathy which is peripheral nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels. This nerve disruption often causes a complete lack of sensation in the feet, making it very difficult for sufferers to sense when they have an injury or infection. The resultant formation of a diabetic foot ulcer can lead to amputation if not properly treated.
The symptoms of peripheral diabetic neuropathy include:
- A tingling or burning sensation—and possibly shooting pain in the extremities. This will be particularly noticeable in the feet, ankles, hands, and fingers.
- Muscle weakening
- Balance issues—problems with stability, standing, and walking that may require specially-made shoes and orthotic inserts to correct.
- Inability to feel extreme temperature differences—since this can result in skin scalding, it’s very important to make sure showers are not too hot.
Detection and treatments for diabetic neuropathy
Your foot doctor can request a nerve conduction study to determine the severity of the nerve impairment. Since the loss of feeling from nerve damage will likely increase over time, it’s important to set up regular visits with your podiatrist to monitor and treat any injuries before they can worsen.
Treatment includes the following:
Decreasing your blood sugar levels through proper diet and exercise is essential, and protecting your feet from injury with supportive socks and shoes with orthotic inserts will help avoid cuts and infections. Your foot care regimen, including a daily foot inspection, should be followed diligently to help mitigate these complications.
Patients with diabetes require treatment from their foot doctor on a regular basis. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.