How Diabetes Causes Foot Problems - Topic Overview
things work together to cause foot problems in people who have
diabetes, especially poor circulation and nerve
disease (neuropathy). Neuropathy significantly dulls awareness
of your feet, making you more susceptible to extensive injury-related damage.
Also, diabetes can impair your ability to heal by both damaging your immune system and decreasing the blood flow in your legs.
If your vision has been affected by
diabetic retinopathy or other eye problems, you may
not see an injury or infection in your feet early. If you get a foot infection or injury,
you may not notice it until your condition is so serious that you require
surgery, possibly amputation.
Who's at risk?
Things that increase your risk for diabetic foot
blood glucose control. If your blood sugar levels are persistently above the
target range, you are more likely to have foot problems.
- Age. The
risk increases with age.
- Gender. Males are at higher
- Race. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are
at higher risk.
- Duration of diabetes. The longer you have the
disease, the greater your risk.
- Other complications due to diabetes
(small blood vessel disease,
atherosclerosis of large vessels). If you already have
other diabetic complications, you are more likely to have foot
- Smoking. Smoking contributes to circulatory problems in
your extremities, increasing your likelihood of developing foot
- Peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves that control
sensation and touch). Peripheral neuropathy results in poor sensation in your
extremities, increasing your likelihood of having foot problems.
- Alcohol dependence. Long-term heavy drinking can cause numbness and tingling in your hands and feet.