Managing Diabetic Foot Pain

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves in the feet which in turn causes a loss of blood supply.  It is possible for the diabetic to injure his feet and not even be aware of it.  Often infections will start from injuries that have not been properly treated.  These injuries can be very difficult to heal.

Occasionally, the diabetic will need to undergo an amputation because of chronic osteomyelitis which requires surgery.  A person with diabetes is 10 to 30 times more likely to lose a lower limb to amputation than a person without the disease.

Here are a few suggestions for the treatment and care of the diabetic’s feet:

  1.  Never go barefoot.  Always wear either slippers or shoes.
  2.  Wear clean smooth cotton socks that are designed and made especially for diabetics.
  3. Be sure to wear shoes that fit well and have plenty of room in the toe.
  4.  Have a podiatrist examine your feet on a regular basis.  It may be wise to have the doctor cut your toenails when he examines your feet.

The diabetic needs to consistently monitor the condition of his feet.  The patient should regularly:

  1.  Check for any open wounds, cracked skin, or sores.
  2.  Look for any red or white spots
  3.  Watch out for any blisters, corns or calluses
  4.  Check for any hot spots on the feet

If you discover a problem, it needs to be addressed and so it is time to consult with your medical professional.

If you are trimming your own toe nails it is best to do it when the nails are soft after bathing.  Use lotion made for softening the skin, but never put the lotion between the toes.

Diabetic individuals can have something more serious than a combined infection involving bone and soft tissue.  They can experience a sever chronic soft tissue and bone infection that causes a foul oozing of fluid.  The diabetic may develop peripheral vascular disease which involves the large vessels as well as the microvascular and capillary and can result in the patient developing gangrene.

Foot infections in patients with diabetes are usually more severe and take longer to heal than do similar foot infections in people without diabetes.  These conditions will often cause the diabetic to experience foot pain.

Troubling diabetic foot pain symptoms can occur when the patient has developed diabetic neuropathy.  Diabetic neuropathy occurs when the feet cannot send information to the brain because the feet have become numb from too much blood sugar damage.  Cuts, bumps and other injuries can go undetected because the feet lose their feeling.  The resulting diabetic foot pain can be very disabling.

Diabetes can cause poor blood circulation.  There are estimates that 1 in 3 diabetics over the age of 50 has arteries in the legs which are clogged.  The arteries are narrowed and they diminish the blood flow to the lower legs and feet. This problem is known as peripheral artery disease or peripheral vascular disease.  This problem can result in diabetic foot pain if the patient walks too far or walks for too long a period of time.  A more serious problem is that the loss of blood flow to the feet can prevent wounds and sores from healing and this will allow them to grow and spread.

Feet take a great deal of abuse during the average day. Since the diabetic is more prone to problems with his feet that other people it is most important to practice good foot care. Following the foot care suggestions discussed about will help the diabetic prevent or control problems with his feet.