Nerve Problems Due To Diabetes
The most common contributor to diabetic foot pain is a nerve problem called Peripheral Neuropathy. This is where the nerves are directly affected by the disease process. There are basically three types of peripheral neuropathy:sensory, motor, and autonomic neuropathy.
A large percentage of pain diabetic patients complain of is due to sensory neuropathy. This can show up as “sensitive pain,” where the amount of pain is not proportional to the amount of insult that is causing it. For instance, just touching the skin or putting a sheet over your feet in bed could be painful. This can be present at the same time as numbness in the feet. Sensoryneuropathy symptoms can include burning, tingling or a stabbing pain.
Relief is foremost on someone’s mind when painful neuropathy has raised its ugly head. The first thing to do is to check your blood sugar for the past several weeks to see if there has been a trend toward high blood sugar Persistent high blood sugar can contribute to this type of pain.
Massaging your feet with a diabetic foot cream, or using a foot roller, often takes the edge off the pain. Vitamin B preparations are often recommended and there are a variety of prescription medications that do work. Using cushioned, supportive shoes and foot support inserts is always needed to protect the feet from the pounding, rubbing and irritating pressures that contribute to neuropathic pain.
Keep the muscles working and the joints moving!
What Does Diabetic Nerve Pain Feel Like
So what does diabetic nerve pain feel like? There are many symptoms, including early onset symptoms that may be mild and challenging to diagnose. Diabetic neuropathy symptoms usually begin in the toes and work their way towards the head.
The first symptoms you may experience are tingling and numbness in the toes or fingers. This may resemble the feeling of pins and needles when a foot that has fallen asleep begins to wake up. You may also experience cramping in the feet, poor reflexes, and poor balance or coordination. Some people experience hypersensitivity and feel painful sensations with the slightest touch .
In one of the few visual symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a person may develop what is known as a hammertoe. This foot deformity causes the toes to begin to curl under and develops as a result of unconscious modification of the gait due to pain or other symptoms.
As the condition progresses, symptoms become more pronounced and more challenging to treat.
When Should I Seek Medical Care For Diabetic Foot Pain
If you have diabetes, tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience:
- Any changes in foot shape.
- Any changes to the skin on the feet, including a wound, redness or darkness, warmth or a funny smell.
- Hair loss on your toes, feet or legs.
- Loss of feeling in the toes, feet or legs.
- Pain, tingling, burning or cramping in the feet or legs.
- Thick, yellow toenails.
What Does Diabetic Foot Pain Feel Like
Diabetic foot pain is very painful for people who suffer from diabetics. This is because as mentioned above, diabetes can damage the nerves of the foot and when this happens, there is always a possibility of having blood circulation around the foot impeded. It could lead to the feeling of numbness or burning pain in the foot. This is to say that a lot of people who have diabetic foot pain will likely have stiff joints and may likely bleed since the ability of the blood to clout is decreased.
Therefore, this kind of situation makes it difficult for wounds to heal or in some cases makes it much slower for wounds to heal. It is important to note that the decreasing nerve function on the foot makes the situation very tricky in the sense that there are some people who could have some foot wound without even knowing it. Diabetic foot pains feels like some other severe pains around the body but the difference in this case is that the stakes are higher here due to the complications of diabetes. People who suffer from diabetic foot pain tend to focus more on effectively managing the diabetes problem in general since it is a fall out on diabetics.
Peripheral Neuropathy And Diabetes
Diabetic foot pain is mainly due to a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Approximately 50% of people who have type 2 diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy, which happens when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the nerves in the legs and the feet.
If you are frequently feeling foot pain, your type of neuropathy may be sensory, where even the slightest touch can cause overwhelming pain. The reaction is not proportional to the stimulus, because the nerves are overly sensitive.
Another type of peripheral neuropathy is motor neuropathy, wherein the nerves that connect to the muscles are weakened and therefore hurt. As a result, it may be a challenge to balance yourself with weakened legs and feet. This imbalance may lead to the development of corns, calluses, cuts, scrapes, and swelling.
For diabetics with motor neuropathy, customized orthotics may help address the balance issues and prevent the development of other foot issues. Its important that you keep your muscles in use so that your legs and feet stay strong.
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Diabetic Foot Pain Relief In North Dakota
If you have diabetic foot pain, ankle pain, arthritis, or a musculoskeletal injury, our orthopedic doctors are ready to help you. From traditional treatments to complex surgeries, our team of surgeons and medical staff have the skills and experience to bring you relief from your diabetic foot symptoms.
The Bone & Joint Center has convenient offices located across North Dakota. If you have any questions or would like to request an appointment, contact our friendly team today by calling us at 424-2663 or by filling out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you maintain healthy feet and overall wellness.
Check Your Feet Every Day
You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet. Checking your feet each day will help you spot problems early before they get worse. A good way to remember is to check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. Also check between your toes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror to see them, or ask someone else to look at your feet.
Look for problems such as
- cuts, sores, or red spots
- swelling or fluid-filled blisters
- ingrown toenails, in which the edge of your nail grows into your skin
- corns or calluses, which are spots of rough skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot
- plantar warts, which are flesh-colored growths on the bottom of the feet
- athletes foot
- warm spots
If you have certain foot problems that make it more likely you will develop a sore on your foot, your doctor may recommend taking the temperature of the skin on different parts of your feet. A hot spot can be the first sign that a blister or an ulcer is starting.
Cover a blister, cut, or sore with a bandage. Smooth corns and calluses as explained below.
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Tips For Treating Diabetic Nerve Pain
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Diabetes can cause long-term problems throughout your body, especially if you dont control your blood sugar effectively, and sugar levels remain high for many years. High blood sugar can cause diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerves that send signals from your hands and feet.
Diabetic neuropathy can cause numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. Another symptom is a burning, sharp, or aching pain . The pain may be mild at first, but it can get worse over time and spread up your legs or arms. Walking can be painful, and even the softest touch can feel unbearable.
Up to 50 percent of people with diabetes may experience nerve pain. Nerve damage can affect your ability to sleep, decrease your quality of life, and can also cause depression.
Could You Have Nerve Damage
Anyone with diabetes can develop nerve damage, but these factors increase your risk:
- Blood sugar levels that are hard to manage
- Having diabetes for a long time, especially if your blood sugar is often higher than your target levels
- Being overweight
- Having high cholesterol
Nerve damage, along with poor blood flowanother diabetes complicationputs you at risk for developing a foot ulcer that could get infected and not heal well. If an infection doesnt get better with treatment, your toe, foot, or part of your leg may need to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading and to save your life.
When you check your feet every day, you can catch problems early and get them treated right away. Early treatment greatly reduces your risk of amputation.
Why Am I Sore
You may begin to notice sores or blisters on your feet that you cant explain. It could be that you hurt yourself and didnt feel it at the time.
Sometimes you dont feel pain or injury because of the nerve damage. This can be very dangerous. For example, you could scald yourself with hot water because youre unable to feel a pain response to heat.
What Can I Do To Manage Diabetes
Unfortunately, once you have diabetes-related foot pain, it cant be cured. Doctors can only try to prevent it from getting worse. Here are 5 things you can do at home to help manage your diabetes-related foot pain and prevent complications:
1) Check your feet.
Check the bottoms of your feet every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed. Look for cuts and wounds and anything else unusual. These may be signs that your feet are becoming less sensitive and that something is going on with the blood vessels and nerves in your feet.
2) Wear shoes around the house.
When you have diabetes-related foot pain, you cant always feel when you step on things. Wearing shoes helps to prevent cuts and injuries.
3) Follow up with your doctor.
Its important to attend your regular doctors appointments. Not only will your doctor be able to perform foot exams, but they can catch problems earlier on so you dont end up with serious complications.
4) Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Just because diabetes-related foot pain isnt reversible doesnt mean it cant be improved. Lowering high blood sugar by watching what you eat and exercising regularly can improve some symptoms of nerve pain. Both habits can help improve your blood flow as well, which will lower your risk for complications. Just remember to consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise plan.
5) Stop smoking.
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Diabetes And Your Feet
Get your feet checked at every health care visit.
If you have diabetes, heres a way to keep standing on your own two feet: check them every dayeven if they feel fineand see your doctor if you have a cut or blister that wont heal.
Theres a lot to manage if you have diabetes: checking your blood sugar, making healthy food, finding time to be active, taking medicines, going to doctors appointments. With all that, your feet might be the last thing on your mind. But daily care is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications.
About half of all people with diabetes have some kind of nerve damage. You can have nerve damage in any part of your body, but nerves in your feet and legs are most often affected. Nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet.
What Should I Do If I Have These Symptoms
If you start to notice any unusual sensations or pain in your feet or hands, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Theyll can do a quick test to see if your feet can feel properly. It involves your doctor brushing a soft piece of nylon along different areas of your feet as you keep your eyes closed and say yes every time you think you feel it.
If you have diabetes, your doctor will likely perform this test at least once a year to catch nerve problems early and help stop them from getting worse. They may also suggest that you meet with a foot doctor . If your doctor thinks you really do have nerve damage, they could ask you to have additional tests done to see how serious it is, but these tend to be more invasive and are not recommended on a regular basis.
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Tips For Diabetic Foot Care
Proper foot care can prevent these common foot problems or treat them before they cause serious complications. Here are some tips for good foot care:
Can Peripheral Neuropathy Be Reversed
Once your nerves are damaged, you cant reverse it. All you can do is work to prevent further damage and manage the pain that results from the existing damage.
To stop further nerve damage, you need to monitor your blood sugar carefully using both your insulin as well as diet and exercise. Your doctor may recommend lowering your blood sugar before meals to 70-130 or 180 after meals.
You also need to avoid other lifestyle risks that contribute to poorer health and diabetes outcomes. Avoiding tobacco and cigarettes are common suggestions from physicians.
It may also be a good idea to look at supplements for any vitamin deficiencies. If you are on metformin, you may benefit from a B-12 supplement because a B-12 deficiency is a common side effect of the drug. Extreme vitamin deficiencies can exacerbate both blood sugar issues and nerve damage as well as cause other health issues.
What Does Diabetic Nerve Pain In The Feet Feel Like
Studies suggest that one in three people in the US have diabetes. In fact, it is possible that these figures are higher as people living in rural areas may not be diagnosed correctly. Diabetes is a condition where your body is unable to regulate the amount of sugar in your blood this can be due to a lack of insulin being produced or to your body not being able to process the insulin. This can generally be controlled through diet and medication. However, excess sugar in the body, particularly over a long period of time can damage blood vessels and nerves. Nerve damage is referred to as neuropathy if this is a result of diabetes then it is called diabetic neuropathy current estimates suggest in excess of 70% of diabetics have diabetic neuropathy.
When Should You See A Doctor For Foot Pain
If you have serious pain or swelling, seek medical help right away. Have a wound that is oozing pus or is open. You have signs of infection in the infected region, such as redness, warmth, and tenderness, or you have a fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit You cant walk or put any weight on your foot.
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Common Symptoms: What Does Diabetic Nerve Pain Feel Like
With over 100 different forms of peripheral neuropathy, the symptoms experienced can vary greatly from one person to another. These symptoms are attributed to the damage that has occured to the nerves.
Diabetic nerve damage in the feet is experienced through different types of nerve pain in the feet and toes. It is often felt as one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of sensation, including temperature, touch, and pain
- Burning, pins and needles sensation
- Numbness or tingling in your toes
- Numbness or tingling in your feet
- Pain when walking
- Achy, painful feet in the morning
- Sharp, shooting pain in the toes and feet
Symptoms tend to start out mild, and increase with time unless preventative measures are taken to slow the disease progression. For some, it can become difficult to go about their daily routine, with walking becoming painful or difficult.
Diabetes Pain In Feet Prevention
One of the complications of diabetes which can be rather uncomfortable and even keep you awake at night is the diabetes pain in feet is experienced as a result of diabetic neuropathy or nerve pain. However, there may be some things you can do to help manage or alleviate the discomfort and let things be a little more comfortable for yourself.
Learn to inspect your feet once or twice daily for any signs of injury or infection. The reason for this is that sometimes the feet can feel numb and so any knocks that the feet may take in your daily walkabouts may not be immediately noticed.
Good foot care is essential for anyone with this condition. It is advised for diabetics to wash their feet every day in warm water with mild soap, dry thoroughly, and moisturize the feet with an approved moisturizer, preferably with an antifungal ingredient in it.
Diabetes has many complications associated with it, the most common being diabetic peripheral neuropathy which is the main cause of diabetes foot pain. Over time, high blood sugars can harm nerves throughout the body, and this process most often starts in the feet.
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