Many diabetics are aware that their disease can lead to foot pain. But there are different kinds of foot problems caused by the disease and learning the different types of problems along with their their causes can help alleviate the discomfort – and avoid more serious problems later on.
Diabetes can damage nerves in the foot and is a common cause of diabetic foot pain. There are a number of approaches torelieving the pain of this condition, called peripheral neuropathy. Massaging the foot – with a diabetic foot cream or with a foot roller – can ease the pain. Cushioned shoes or shoes with extra support can make walking less painful.
But sometimes feet can develop higher pressure points, which in turn can cause calluses. Calluses can break down and turn into open sores, warns the American Diabetes Association. The Diabetes Association warns against using chemicals to remove the calluses suggesting instead that a health care professional trim them. The Diabetes Association also suggests smoothing the calluses daily with a pumice stone to keep them under control.
Diabetes contributes to circulation problems, which can then lead to foot problems. That’s because blood flow in the calves and the back of knees can become partially or even completely blocked. When the feet don’t receive proper blood flow, the tissues in the feet don’t get enough oxygen. Support hose, exercise, massage therapy and – under the guidance of a physician, medication – represent a number of different approaches to addressing the pain and discomfort.
While nerve damage can make patients overly sensitive to pain, in some cases the damage can cause the patient to lose sensation to hot, cold and touch. That lack of feeling can make it more difficult to notice foot problems. So it’s important to be aware of any changes early on, before they escalate into more serious problems. If complications and circulation problems become bad enough, diabetics may need to have their feet amputated. Amputation is a last resort. Recognizing foot problems early on can help put diabetics on a path to better options. To learn more about addressing diabetic foot pain, please contact us.