When you're living with diabetes, your feet require special care, as these hardworking structures are particularly susceptible to the long-term effects of the disease. Proper daily foot care practices and regular visits with a podiatrist who is knowledgeable about diabetes and how it affects the lower extremities—along with a balanced diet, exercise, and controlling your blood sugars—can help your feet stay healthy. Fortunately, if you're looking to add an exceptionally skilled podiatrist to your diabetes management team, you've come to the right place.
At Omaha Foot and Ankle Specialists, diabetic foot concerns are a key focus of our practice. Our experienced podiatrists, Dr. Michael Cullen and Dr. Nathan Penney, provide wide-ranging care to help patients with diabetes maintain the health of their feet, ankles, and toenails, and adeptly address any issues that arise. Here's what you should know about the relationship between diabetes and your feet, as well as how working with our podiatry team can help you keep them in good shape.
How Diabetes Can Affect Your Feet
Diabetes is a complex chronic illness that affects your body's ability to produce or use insulin, a hormone that plays a vital role in turning the food you eat into energy. However, before food turns into energy, it turns into sugar, which insulin either sends to cells for immediate fuel or to store for future use.
When insulin can't regulate this sugar—because there's too little of the hormone or your body can't utilize it properly—it builds up in your bloodstream.
Having high blood sugar levels over time can lead to serious health problems, including nerve damage and circulation issues. Unfortunately, your feet are particularly at risk for these types of complications.
Chronically elevated blood sugar weakens the walls of the small blood vessels that supply nerves with oxygen and nutrients, which can damage the nerves and interfere with their ability to send signals.
When this kind of nerve damage happens in your feet, it's called peripheral neuropathy—and it can cause symptoms that range from uncomfortable to debilitating, including:
- Painful burning or tingling
- Sharp pains or cramps
- Changes in balance
- Changes in sensation (such as reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes)
Losing sensation in your feet increases your risk of sustaining a cut, blister, or other issue that may go unnoticed until it becomes a larger problem.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a common concern for our patients and we offer a number of advanced therapies to meet your needs.
Diabetes can affect circulation in multiple ways. Not only can consistently high blood sugar levels damage the lining of your small blood vessels, but the disease also increases your risk for peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition characterized by fatty deposits that build up inside the blood vessels and reduce blood flow. Poor circulation in the lower extremities can cause all kinds of problems for patients with diabetes, from dry, cracked skin to trouble healing from injuries or infections. Our podiatrists provide gentle, effective treatment solutions.
Special Care for Special Feet
Treat your feet to the comprehensive care they deserve. In addition to advanced therapies for complex issues, we also offer:
- Diabetic foot evaluations
- Preventive care
- Corn or callus removal
- Toenail trimming
- Treatment for ingrown or fungal toenails
- Footwear consults (analysis and shoe fittings)
- Custom orthotics
- And more
When it comes to managing your diabetes, caring for your feet is an essential piece of the puzzle. Getting the right care could save your feet, or even your life. Find out how we can help you keep your feet on track.