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The Effect of Diabetes on Foot Pain

Experiencing pain in your feet is a common issue that occurs in people with diabetes. The complication can be present in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Your chances of developing this issue can increase the longer you have had diabetes, but the biggest risk factor is if you struggle to keep your blood sugar level under control. People who are overweight, smoke, or suffer from certain health conditions, like heart or kidney disease, are also much more likely to develop the condition.  

Why does Diabetes cause Foot Issues? 

 Known as diabetic neuropathy, diabetic foot pain primarily results from damage that high blood sugar can cause to your blood vessels and nerve endings. Many people also experience similar issues in their hands. However, the feet are usually the most affected area. This is because their distance from the heart makes them far more prone to issues with poor circulation than other parts of the body.  

 Common Symptoms of Diabetic Foot Neuropathy 

 The combination of poor circulation and damaged nerve endings can result in pain and increased sensitivity in the feet. However, it can also have almost the opposite effect by making your feet or legs feel numb, weak, or experience tingling or burning sensations.  

 Diabetic neuropathy can also greatly increase the chances of foot injuries. This is because many people with the condition often can’t feel heat, cold, or pain in their feet, which makes it much easier to suffer an injury without realizing it. The poor circulation also means that any foot injuries will generally heal much slower. This is because the lack of blood flow makes it more difficult for immune cells to get to wounds and repair the injury.  

The combination of these issues is usually why some diabetics may eventually need to have their feet or limbs amputated. Specifically, diabetes shrinks the arteries and makes it more likely for the person to develop ulcers or open sores. Since any wounds will heal more slowly, they can easily get infected and potentially lead to gangrene. In addition, the fact that the person can’t feel the pain means that they may not notice the infection until it has progressed to a much more advanced stage. This is true of major wounds, but even seemingly minor issues like toenail infections can possibly have the same effect if not properly treated. 

 How to Overcome Foot Pain caused by Diabetes 

 If you notice any pain or tingling in your feet, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A podiatrist is generally the best option for diabetic foot care since they specialize in the feet. In most cases, the podiatrist will perform a diabetic foot exam to check your feet for any injuries. The doctor will also make sure that you don’t have any fungal infections or skin issues like cracked skin, calluses, blisters, or other problems that could increase your risk of injury or infection. They may also check the blood flow in your feet and your reflexes and sensitivity to touch. 

 Depending on the results of the exam, there may be a number of options that can help. For instance, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat infections, or the doctor may recommend surgery to correct any bone abnormalities. You may also be prescribed medication to help with the pain or physical therapy to help improve your strength or balance. 

 The doctors at Marion County Podiatry have years of experience in diabetic foot care and can help you to overcome whatever issues you’re facing. If you notice any numbness, tingling, or injuries in your feet, contact us today to get the treatment you need. 


Carl M. Salvati, DPM
Carl M. Salvati, DPM completed a three year podiatric medical and surgical residency with reconstructive rearfoot and ankle training at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, FL. During his time in residency, Dr Salvati had extensive experience in trauma, arthroscopy, diabetic limb salvage, and elective lower extremity procedures. He has an undergraduate BS BA degree from the University of Florida where he graduated cum laude and was a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. He received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine in Miami, Florida. Dr. Salvati participated in various charitable endeavors including the Yucatan Crippled Children’s Project in Mexico. He is board certified by the American board of Podiatric Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Podiatric Medicine. He is also board certified in the sub-specialty of Amputation Prevention and Wound Care by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. He has been Certified as a Wound Care Specialist Physician by the American Board of Wound Management. Dr Salvati is a dedicated and compassionate physician with extensive surgical and medical experience.

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