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People living with diabetes are prone to having foot problems, often because of two complications of diabetes: nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation. Neuropathy causes loss of feeling in your feet, taking away your ability to feel pain and discomfort, so you may not detect an injury or irritation. Poor circulation in your feet reduces your ability to heal, making it hard for even a tiny cut to resist infection.

Having diabetes increases the risk of developing a wide range of foot problems. Furthermore, with diabetes, small foot problems can turn into serious complications.

An ulcer is a sore in the skin that may go all the way to the bone. Because of poor circulation and neuropathy in the feet, cuts or blisters can easily turn into ulcers that become infected and will not heal. This is a common—and serious—complication of diabetes and can lead to a loss of your foot, your leg or your life.

Many new surgical techniques are available to save feet and legs, including joint reconstruction and wound healing technologies. Getting regular foot checkups and seeking immediate help when you notice something can keep small problems from worsening.

Even with preventive care and prompt treatment of infection and complications, there are instances when amputation is necessary to remove infected tissue, save a limb or even save a life.

To avoid serious foot problems that could result in losing a toe, foot or leg, follow these guidelines:

  • Inspect your feet daily. 

  • Bathe feet in lukewarm, never hot, water. 

  • Be gentle when bathing your feet. 

  • Moisturize your feet but not between your toes.

  • Cut nails carefully. 

  • Never treat corns or calluses yourself. 

  • Wear clean, dry socks. 

  • Consider socks made specifically for patients living with diabetes.

  • Wear socks to bed. 

  • Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing them. 

  • Keep your feet warm and dry. 

  • Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet. 

  • Never walk barefoot.

  • Take care of your diabetes. 

  • Do not smoke. 

  • Get periodic foot exams.

If you believe you are developing ulcers on your feet, it's important that you get it checked out as soon as possible. Click here to book an appointment with Dr. Levine to have it assessed.