Diabetes and Your Feet

About 30 million people in the US have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. A possible complication of the disease is nervous system impairment (neuropathy), which may cause you to lose feeling in your feet or hands. This means you won't know right away if there is a problem. Diabetic neuropathy affects about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes.

People with diabetes are at risk for developing foot problems that can be severe. If you have diabetes, make sure to learn about these potential conditions, monitor your feet regularly, and see your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon if you suspect a problem.

Diabetes can cause serious foot problems involving the loss of nerve function (diabetic neuropathy) and loss of circulation (peripheral vascular disease).

Patients with Charcot Arthropathy have peripheral neuropathy, or loss of sensation, in the foot and ankle, and may experience fractures and dislocations of bones and joints with minimal or no known trauma.

With a diabetic foot, minor injuries can become major emergencies. It is important to take the time to inspect your feet, practice good foot hygiene, and choose proper footwear.
The total contact cast is used to heal diabetic foot ulcers by distributing weight along the entire plantar aspect (sole) of the foot.

Because people who suffer from diabetes can have problems with circulation, nerves, immunity, and deformity, proper footwear is very important for diabetics.

If you have ever been told that you are at risk of developing diabetes, you need to monitor your feet closely to prevent complications.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images, and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the "Find a Surgeon" search to locate a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon in your area.