Diabetic Neuropathy or nerve damage from diabetes is a condition in which a diabetic patients extremities experience deterioration in nerve function. A gradual loss of feeling in the feet, legs, hands, and arms is experienced. Numbness, pain, tingling, a feeling of the foot being swollen when it is not, and weakness are common symptoms of neuropathy.
Minor foot conditions such as blisters, calluses, and cuts are often ignored as a result of the inability to feel and sense pain. Thereby, this loss of sensation can develop into foot infections, ulcers, and possibly result in amputation. The loss of sensation takes away the natural ability for the foot to feel irritation. As a result of unchecked glucose levels, the nerves in the foot are unable to warn the diabetic patient to sense minor injuries leading to infection.
It is imperative that the feet be inspected daily. If a problem is found it should be addressed by your podiatrist immediately to prevent any complications. Diabetic leg and foot problems are the leading reason for diabetes related hospitalizations and diabetes is the leading cause for amputation of the leg and foot.
One of the more serious foot problems associated with diabetic neuropathy is Charcot foot. This progressive degenerative condition results in the joints of the feet being subjected to continual trauma and injury. A minor trauma may initiate the process, and the loss of feeling in the foot allows for repeated injury to the joint, ligaments, and cartilage. Symptoms may include insensitivity in the foot, and increased warmth relative to the other foot. Signs may include change in the shape of the foot, redness, and swelling. As a result of the nerve damage caused by diabetic neuropathy, the muscles of the foot and ankle are weakened allowing for instability and dislocation. Advanced Charcot foot causes deformities which can result in calluses and ulcers as bony protrusions increase pressure with walking and standing leading to possible infection.
If you have diabetes it is imperative for you to have a comprehensive foot examination by a podiatrist. Diabetic neuropathy can rob you of any and all feeling in your lower extremities resulting in life altering complications. The only way to prevent this is by monitoring the condition of your feet daily and utilizing the expertise and experience of your podiatric doctor.