Stand On Your Own Two Feet: How Diabetes Affects Your Foot And How To Care For It

  • 3 min read

If you’re suffering from diabetes, you’re not alone. This chronic condition currently affects more than 37 million Americans, roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population. Since diabetes affects your body’s ability to process blood glucose (sugar), significant lifestyle changes – especially regarding nutrition and fitness – are required. However, it is just as essential to care for your feet beyond watching what you eat and staying active.

What’s the deal with diabetes and your feet?

If not properly managed, diabetes results in hyperglycemia – elevated blood sugar levels. If hyperglycemia persists, it can weaken and damage blood vessels, including those that supply the nerves in the body, resulting in nerve damage. Nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy, is one of the long-term complications of diabetes and one of the main reasons people with diabetes can experience serious foot problems.

Another complication of diabetes that can affect your feet is peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is when plaque builds up within the arteries, causing your arteries to become clogged, which affects blood circulation, making it difficult for oxygen and nutrients in the blood to reach the lower extremities, especially your feet. As a result, those with PAD can experience painful symptoms in their legs and feet.

What are the symptoms?

Those suffering from diabetic neuropathy or PAD may experience various symptoms in their extremities, including tingling, burning, stinging, weakness, swelling, numbness, and pain. The loss of feeling in the foot is a severe problem because it can result in injury or infection that goes unnoticed. 

Why is this a problem?

Nerve damage resulting from poor blood flow increases the risk of developing a foot ulcer – an open sore or wound that does not quickly heal. For that reason, foot ulcers can easily become infected. If not treated, your toe, foot, or part of your leg may need to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of the body.

Am I at risk?

Anyone with diabetes can develop nerve damage. About 50 percent of those suffering from diabetes experience nerve damage. Factors that increase your risk include: 

  • having uncontrolled high blood sugar levels
  • being overweight or obese
  • smoking
  • having high cholesterol and blood pressure

How can I prevent it?

The good news is that you can take steps to prevent nerve damage and potential foot complications. Keeping your diabetes well managed (maintaining blood sugar levels within normal levels) is the first order of business to lower your risk for future complications. You can accomplish this by eating a nutritious and balanced diet, avoiding refined sugars and highly processed foods, and exercising regularly.

 

Finally, there are several simple strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine to care for your feet:

  1. Check your feet for cuts, sores, blisters, calluses, swelling, or redness. 
  2. Always wear (the right) socks: Featuring Circulight® IR technology, Circufiber helps those with diabetes improve their quality of life and better care for their feet. Clinically proven to increase circulation in your feet and lower legs, Circufiber is a simple yet effective strategy to prevent foot-related complications in those with diabetes
  3. Wear shoes that fit you well: Wear comfortable shoes and avoid tight shoes that can constrain your feet. Plus: always wear socks with your shoes
  4. Keep the blood flowing: Move and wiggle your toes often throughout the day, put your feet up, and stay active

    Happy Feet, Happy You

    The complications of diabetes can be scary, but you shouldn’t have to live in fear. If you have diabetes, there are many things you can do to ensure you keep standing on your own two feet and lower your risk for foot complications. Incorporating daily strategies to care for your feet can go a long way in keeping you healthy – and with all your limbs. For example, you can check cuts and sores daily, wear diabetic socks for at least 6 hours a day, and maintain blood sugar levels under control through diet and exercise. Gain control of your diabetes and keep your feet happy and dancing!

     

    Circufiber Diabetic Socks

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