Foot and Leg Pain From Diabetes
Diabetics often suffer foot and leg pain as a result of complications
that are associated with the diabetes. Because the legs are an extremity
of the body, it is important for them to receive a constant flow of
healthy blood in order to stay strong and healthy. Protect yourself from diabetic caused amputations.
However, because of many diabetes-related conditions, the legs do
not get the proper attention that they need to stay healthy. Those
complications include poor circulation, high blood pressure, heart
disease, high cholesterol, and even slow-healing infections. Another reason feet and legs don’t get proper attention in time is the early stages of blocked blood flow damage is painless. Just as Type 2 diabetes, there is no feeling that anything bad is going on – but it is! But, as the years go by, blood flow is reduced starving and damaging the nerve tissue in the feet and legs, as well as other parts of the body.
Many diabetics have conditions that affect the positive flow of
blood throughout the body. When blood flow through the arteries in the feet and
legs becomes blocked or limited, the feet and legs can get cramps, numbness, or
loss of functionality. Often, cramps will form during exercise, such as
walking or jogging.
However, as the problem progresses, the feet may start to feel
painful even when the body is at rest. Foot pain in such a case is
usually the result of blocked blood flow to the feet, which can lead to
a host of serious complications.
- Risk Factors
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history of heart disease
There are a variety of conditions that can impact leg pain that is associated with diabetes. Among those risk factors include:
People with neuropathy need to take special care of their feet. The
nerves to the feet are the longest in the body and are the ones most
often affected by neuropathy. Loss of sensation in the feet means that
sores or injuries may not be noticed and may become ulcerated or
infected. Poor blood flow also increase the risk of foot ulcers.
More than half of all lower-limb amputations in the United States
occur in people with diabetes – 86,000 amputations per year. Doctors
estimate that nearly half of the amputations caused by neuropathy and
poor circulation could have been prevented by careful foot care.
Follow these steps to take care of your feet:
- Clean your feet daily, using warm, not hot water and a mild soap.
Avoid soaking your feet. Dry them with a soft towel and dry carefully
between your toes.
- Inspect your feet and toes every day for cuts, blisters, redness,
swelling, calluses, or other problems. Use a mirror, laying a mirror on
the floor works well or get help from someone else if you cannot see the
bottoms of your feet. Notify your health care
provider of any problems.
- Moisturize your feet with lotion, but avoid getting the lotion
between your toes.
- After a bath or shower, file corns and calluses gently with a
- Cut your toenails weekly to the shape of your
toes and file the edges with an emery board.
- Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injuries.
Prevent skin irritation by wearing thick, soft, seamless socks.
- Wear shoes that fit well and allow your toes to move. Break in new
shoes gradually by first wearing them for only an hour at a time.
- Inspect your shoes carefully and feel the
insides with your hand to make sure they have no tears, sharp edges, or
objects in them that might injure your feet.
- If you need help taking care of your feet, make an appointment to
see a foot doctor, also called a podiatrist.
For additional information about foot care, contact the National
Diabetes Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-860-8747. See the
publication Prevent diabetes problems: Keep your feet and skin
healthy at www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_feet.
Materials are also available from the National Diabetes Education
Program, including the fact sheet Take Care of Your Feet for a
Lifetime at www.ndep.nih.gov/campaigns/Feet/Feet_overview.htm.
Source: www.nih.com (National Institute of Health)