If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your nerves or blood vessels. Nerve damage from diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. This results in not being able to feel a cut, a blister or a sore. Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers and infections. Damage to the blood vessels can also mean that your feet do not get enough blood and oxygen. Not having enough blood flowing to your legs and feet can make it hard for a sore or an infection to heal. Serious cases of infection may lead to gangrene and even amputation.
You can help avoid foot problems. First, control your blood sugar levels. Good foot hygiene is also crucial:
- Check your feet every day
- Wash your feet every day
- Keep the skin soft and smooth
- Smooth corns and calluses gently
- If you can see, reach, and feel your feet, trim your toenails regularly. If you cannot, ask a foot doctor (podiatrist) to trim them for you.
- Wear shoes and socks at all times
- Protect your feet from hot and cold
- Keep the blood flowing to your feet
Call your health care provider right away if you have:
- a cut, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not start to heal after a few days
- skin on your foot that becomes red, warm, or painful—signs of a possible infection
- a callus with dried blood inside of it,which often can be the first sign of a wound under the callus
- a foot infection that becomes black and smelly—signs you might have gangrene
Ask your provider to refer you to a foot doctor, or podiatrist, if needed.