Yes, if you have diabetes and if you have high blood sugar levels for a long time (hyperglycemia), it can cause some serious feet complications. Even ordinary problems can get worse and unfortunately lead to serious feet complications.
There are many feet complications that may occur. Some of them are the following:
If you don’t control your blood sugar level, your nerves can be damaged. This process is called neuropathy. When neuropathy happens, you feel tingling, pain (burning or stinging), or weakness in the foot. It can also cause loss of feeling in the foot, so you can injure it and not know it. Poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes may also cause problems.
Diabetic nerve damage can also lessen your ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Loss of feeling often means you may not feel a foot injury until the skin breaks down and becomes infected. It can also lead to changes in the shape of your feet and toes.
Diabetes can cause changes in the skin of your foot as well. At times your foot may become very dry. Also, the skin may peel and crack. The problem is that the nerves that control the oil and moisture in your foot no longer work.
Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Ulcers on the sides of the foot are usually due to poorly fitting shoes. Although some of them do not hurt, you should visit your doctor right awat.. Neglecting ulcers can result in infections, which in turn can lead to loss of a limb.
Poor circulation (blood flow) can make your foot less able to fight infection and to heal. Diabetes causes blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden. You can control some of the things that cause poor blood flow. Don’t smoke; smoking makes arteries harden faster. Also, follow your health care provider’s advice for keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. If your feet are cold, you may be tempted to warm them. Unfortunately, if your feet cannot feel the heat, it is easy for you to burn them with hot water, hot water bottles, or heating pads. The best way to help cold feet is to wear warm socks.
People with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people. Many people with diabetes have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which reduces blood flow to the feet. Also, many people with diabetes have nerve disease, which reduces sensation. Together, these problems make it easy to get ulcers and infections that may lead to amputation.
To prevent these feet complications, it’s very important to take good care of your feet and wear comfortable shoes. Anytime you feel pain or notice something different, see your doctor right away as well as follow his/her advice.