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How Diabetes Can Affect your Feet

Diabetes is a systemic condition that can immensely affect people’s feet. If blood glucose levels are not controlled, people’s nervous systems can be irreversibly damaged. The increase in blood glucose levels that cause nerve damage is called diabetic neuropathy, the first signs being tingling experience burning, tingling or numbing sensation in your feet. Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy is a progressive condition and people eventually lose all protective sensation in their feet. This condition prevents our bodies from sending nerve impulses from our foot to our brain when we experience a foot injury. Foot injuries can be caused by improper nail clipping, stepping on a nail, or irregular foot pressure caused by irregular biomechanics and gait.

Since your feet absorb 3 times your body weight with every step you take, irregular bio-mechanical issues may cause enormous pressure on pinpoint locations on your feet. A person with diabetic neuropathy would be unable to feel the large amounts of pressure and the irregular weight bearing can cause callouses or corns on the bottoms of their feet. These initial benign skin patterns can turn into blisters if they are not properly treated by a regulated health care practitioner, such as a Chiropodist. If these callouses or blisters are not treated, they can progress to ulcerations, which is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations. The high prevalence of diabetic ulcers that lead to amputations is due to a diabetic person’s vulnerability to infection and reduced ability to repair the infection. A great way to prevent irregular gait and biomechanics is to visit a Chiropodist for an assessment. If needed, a Chiropodist will make custom orthotics, which will evenly distribute a person’s body weight and prevent pinpoint weight bearing locations.

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