Common Diabetic Foot Problems

Living with diabetes means taking great care not only about your blood sugar – but also about your feet. Diabetic foot problems, unfortunately, are not something unusual – furthermore, they can develop pretty quickly if not treated on time and properly.

This article explores the intricate relationship between diabetes and feet, presents a list of the most common foot issues, and provides recommendations on how to prevent them.

Foot Health and Diabetes

Foot Health is a matter of concern for diabetics considering how well they control their blood sugar levels. Prolonged high blood sugar damages nerves meaning that the diabetic person will be numb in the affected region. Neuropathy in diabetics often starts in the extremes where one can go numb or even tingle.

The two conditions lead to reduced sensitivity and the diabetic person might not even realize that they have injured their foot. Moreover, without any treatment, one is likely to develop infections, sores or even both. Diabetics must take additional steps to ensure that they are taking care of their feet.

Foot health is more than controlling blood sugar as it entails ensuring no injuries, frequent inspections, swift action and professional care in case of a potential problem. In this case, possible injuries are cuts and infections and diabetes prevent this by improved personal cleanliness, putting on the right footwear and limiting barefoot exposure.

Diabetic Neuropathy

A common but severe complication of diabetes is most prominently found in the feet and legs. High blood sugar for a prolonged period can damage nerves leading to severe pain, numbness, or a total absence of any sensation. This may often result in injuries going unnoticed that turn into significant complications like non-healing ulcers and amputations.

Several symptoms can range from pain and a tingling sensation in your extremities, digestion problems, or issues with your urinary tract, heart, and blood vessels. Continuously being aware of any change in sensation can help you identify damage to your nerves at an early stage. Taking the necessary steps to consistently monitor and control your blood sugar can impede the progression of the condition.

Diabetic Specialists' Role

Diabetic specialists are critical in the management of diabetes and any of its complications. A comprehensive diabetes management plan that will constrain the advancement of foot problems is a great factor of foot care. The specialist will always guide you on managing your blood sugars, diet, medications along with monitoring for complications of diabetes.

They offer advice on foot care, precisely. Their role includes regular foot examinations and advice in preventing and managing foot problems under any circumstances. Besides, they may refer you to a podiatrist when there is a need.

It is formidable to underestimate the role of these specialists. It may bring about adverse risks such as inappropriate amputations of feet because of uncontrolled foot infections. The implication is that these specialists are boosting the quality of life of people suffering from diabetes.

Fungal Infections in Diabetes

Diabetes makes one susceptible to get different infections including fungal. Diabetes causes poor blood flow of blood and nerve damage to the feet. Either one of these cases makes diabetic to be vulnerable to the infection. High sugar is vital for the growth of the fungus and hence management of the fungal infection in a diabetic patient is important.

The most common foot fungus in diabetic patients is Athlete’s foot which manifests by itching in between toes, on the sides and, burning and cracking skin on foot. This will extend to form a large crack which exposes the tissue to bacterial infection.

Improving blood sugar control and checking one’s foot regularly if you think you are having the infections are parameters to prevent and early detection of the fungal infection.

Calluses and Corns

Calluses are thickened patches of skin that may develop on the soles of the feet and result from increased friction or pressure. They are relatively common in diabetics given increased pressure points on the foot due to abnormal gait attributed to neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease.

With appropriate wear accommodations, such as necessary shoes or inserts for foot supports, as well as attention to the feet and regular inspections by the diabetic provider, these calluses may be adequately managed. Untreated calluses may subsequently develop into ulcers or open wounds needing care with sensory neuropathy. 

Nonetheless, while these calluses are responsive to proper medical management, as indicated medically these calluses may be inspected by a podiatrist; unresponsive cases may be further referred to for removal.

Corns, much like calluses, are relatively common in diabetics and are related to abnormal gait or wear and are particularly common on the toe joints where friction escalates and walking becomes simultaneously painful.

Regular use of protective pads may prove beneficial as well as wearing Diabetes Mellitus-specific shoes.

Athlete's Foot and Diabetes

Athlete’s Foot is one of the most frequently appearing fungal infections in diabetic patients which is characterized by itching, scaling, and redness of the skin on foot. Diabetics, exposed to high glucose level changed foot skin is thought to represent an excellent natural habitat for fungus.

Depending on several criteria different complications including bacterial infections may arise due to scratching of the skin and skin breaks. Being the best-precautionary measure, avoiding fungal skin exposure by not using communal showers or swimming pools and successful antifungal medication against infection should be carefully followed by both.

Regularly observed changes in the foot and life-long good foot hygiene as well as controlling sugar in the blood may save diabetics from severe complications of Athlete’s Foot.

Nail Infections and Diabetes

Nail infections can be relatively common in diabetes patients with neuropathy because they may not notice minor injuries around the nail area that would typically cause pain. If these small wounds go unnoticed or untreated, it can invite harmful bacteria leading to severe infections.

Nails alterations such as discoloration, thickening or becoming brittle might indicate a fungal infection which requires immediate medical attention. Good nail care habits – keeping nails clean and trimmed – can prevent many such infections.

Even smaller symptoms like ingrown toenails should not be ignored since they can escalate into more significant issues if left unchecked. Indeed, effective control of blood sugar levels remains at the heart of preventing such infections.

Lasting Impact of Foot Issues

Diabetes has an extensive impact on foot health which can be devastating if not addressed promptly. Unfortunately, foot problems remain a leading cause of hospitalizations for diabetic patients. These concerns highlight the importance of foot care in diabetes management.

Infections frequently progress into non-healing ulcers that can severely affect a patient's quality of life. Close monitoring by healthcare professionals and early preventative measures can significantly reduce these complications.

Diabetes-related amputation is a grave concern that distressingly affects numerous patients globally. This drastic outcome mostly results from poor foot health management and necessitates the need for professionals who can guide patients towards better foot care.

Closing Thoughts

Diabetes management goes beyond keeping the levels of blood glucose in check. It encompasses a holistic approach aiming to address all possible vulnerable points, including the feet.

Realizing the challenges associated with diabetes can pave the way to ideal health and an excellent quality of life, whereby everyday events are not overshadowed by bothersome minor health conditions or any worry about grave consequences.



The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. While the content is prepared with utmost care and accuracy to provide insights into foot problems commonly associated with diabetes, it should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Diabetes and its complications can vary significantly among individuals. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice. They can provide appropriate diagnoses and treatment plans based on individual health needs and medical history.

The authors and publishers of this article are not responsible for any specific health needs that may require medical supervision and are not liable for any damages or negative consequences from any treatment, action, application, or preparation, to any person reading or following the information in this article. Always consult your doctor or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment.