10 signs of diabetes foot problems
Taking care of your feet is one way to defend yourself against related diabetes complications. Problems with your feet can lead to painful injuries that are slow to heal, trouble with walking and in the worst case scenario, amputation. Though a 2008 National Hospital Discharge Survey found that the number of diabetes-related amputations has decreased to 3.9 of every 1,000 from a high of 11.2 per 1,000 in 1996, the danger of amputation is still very real for those who are living with diabetes.
You probably already know that you should check, wash and moisturize your feet daily in addition to keeping your blood glucose under tight control. But do you know what signs and symptoms mean bad news for your feet?
Recognize the signs of diabetes foot problems
The following is a list of the most common signs of foot problems for those with diabetes. If any of the items on this list pertain to you, or if you already have foot problems that seem to be worsening, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Redness. Watch for signs of redness, especially where your shoes and socks might rub.
- Swelling. Swelling can be a sign of problems with your shoes, inflammation or poor circulation.
- Hard skin and lack of hair. Other signs of poor circulation include hard, shiny skin on your legs, as well as areas on the legs and feet where hair no longer grows.
- Pain. New or persistent pain can be a sign of several problems, including infection, strain or bruising.
- Corns, calluses and ingrown toenails. Some 'typical' foot problems can be serious for those with diabetes. Corns and calluses, athlete's foot and ingrown toenails should be checked out by a doctor.
- Cuts and blisters. Any break in the skin, such as a blister or small cut, can lead to infection.
- Foot warmth. Localized warmth in your foot could be a sign of inflammation.
- Fluid buildup. Drainage of fluid from a wound should be watched very closely.
- Numbness. Numbness in parts of the foot could be a sign of nerve damage. Watch the area carefully, as you might not be as aware of injuries that occur there.
- Fever, chills and red streaks. Fever and chills or red streaks leading away from the wound are signs of a serious infection. If you have these signs, get to the doctor immediately.
If you have symptoms that are not on this list, be sure to have your feet examined. When it comes to diabetes foot problems, it is always a case of being safe rather than sorry.