Diabetes and high blood sugar levels can affect the feet in various ways. Over time, it can cause damage to:

  1. Blood vessels causing Peripheral Vascular Disease
  2. Nerves causing Neuropathy

Together, these conditions increase the risk of foot wounds.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral Vascular Disease

High blood sugar levels cause blood vessels to narrow, reducing blood supply to the feet and legs. This causes the feet to be deprived of oxygen and nutrients, and makes it harder for any wounds to heal.

Neuropathy

About 50% of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy that can affect their feet in various ways such as:

  • Pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Loss of foot sensation
  • Foot deformities

How do diabetes foot wounds form?

How diabetes foot wounds form

​ ​Most diabetes foot wounds start off with the formation of hard skin

​ ​Hard skin usually forms at pressure points on the foot
 

​ ​This hard skin may go unnoticed by people with poor foot sensation

​ ​Over time, hard skin left untreated may cause a wound

Wounds can easily get infected

Poor blood supply can slow wound healing


Early diagnosis and treatment of hard skin and wounds reduces the risk of complications (including amputations)

More articles on diabetes foot care: 

Click the link to learn about the 10 steps to healthy feet.

Click the link for tips to avoid diabetes foot complications.

Click the link to find out what to do during a diabetes foot emergency.  

Ref: M19