How Diabetes Causes Foot Problems - Topic Overview
How do problems start?
Because foot disease in
diabetes usually begins with neuropathy, your first step in preventing foot
problems should be addressing problems with your nerves. Neuropathy causes
problems in your feet by disrupting your nerves, both reducing your sensation
of pain and causing problems with the way you walk. Such problems can damage
your feet in the following ways:
- Reduced sensation prevents you from sensing
pain and realizing that your foot has been injured. Poor eyesight can also
reduce your ability to detect foot injuries and infections. For example, you
may have a blister and not realize it because you don't feel any pain from it or see the blister. Without treatment, this injury may progress to
- Your feet are at
risk for problems that arise from poor muscular control. If your nerves are no
longer able to carry signals that mean the appropriate motion of your feet
and lower legs while you walk, your body may compensate by forcing your feet to
adopt unnatural positions while you move. Changing the way you walk increases
your risk of getting foot ulcers and deformities. Your feet may become deformed
and misshapen if you walk abnormally for an extended period of time. In fact,
about half of all people with diabetes have a
hammer toe or claw toe deformity or a
Charcot foot deformity, caused by an abnormal walk.
See a picture of
Charcot foot .