Diabetic Neuropathy Feet: Symptoms, Complications and Prevention

Diabetic Neuropathy Feet: Symptoms, Complications and Prevention

Among the symptoms of diabetes is diabetic neuropathy, which is a form of nerve damage. Nerve damage can occur throughout the body when your blood sugar (glucose) is high and left uncontrolled. There are 4 main categories of diabetic neuropathy, however diabetic neuropathy feet also known as peripheral neuropathy is the most common. In this post we will discuss Diabetic Neuropathy Feet: Symptoms, complications and treatment.

As many as 50% of people with diabetes suffer from a diabetic neuropathy. Healthy lifestyle modifications and proper blood sugar management can often prevent diabetic neuropathy feet or slow its progression.

Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy feet

Diabetic neuropathy feet are also known as Peripheral neuropathy. It is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy and symptoms tend to get worse at night. Persons with diabetic neuropathy feet have the following symptoms:

  • Pain or temperature changes are difficult to feel due to numbness or reduced sensitivity.
  • Tingling or burning are common symptoms.
  • Cramps or sharp pains may also occur.
  • An increased sensitivity to touch is also common.


Other forms of diabetic neuropathy include

Mono neuropathy: Mononeuropathy refers to damage to a single nerve in the body. It can affect a single nerve in the head (cranial mononeuropathy), or it can affect a single nerve in the body (peripheral mononeuropathy). Cranial mononeuropathy is caused by damage to a single nerve in the head leading to muscle weakness and sensation such as difficulty focusing or double vision.

Autonomic neuropathy: diabetes can also cause damage to the autonomic nerves leading to autonomic neuropathy. The symptoms of autonomic nephropathy include changes in heart rate, changes in urine flow, changes in bowel movements, changes in sexual organs and vision changes. There may also be pain, tingling and muscle weakness.

Proximal neuropathy: This condition is caused by damage to the nerves in the thigh, hip, buttocks, or leg. The symptoms may also affect the abdomen and chest. The foot may feel numb or tingly, and there may be a painful cramping sensation. Symptoms are usually on one side of the body but may spread to the other side during the later stages.

Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy depends on the type and range from leg and foot pain to urinary tract issues, problems with your digestive system, and heart problems. There can be mild to severe symptoms associated with these conditions. Nevertheless, diabetic neuropathy can be painful and incapacitating for some individuals.

Complications of Diabetic neuropathy feet

Diabetic neuropathy feet can cause pain, numbness and burning in the feet, which can seriously impact day-to-day activities. There are several complications of diabetic neuropathy feet, including ulceration, gangrene, deformity, and amputation. However, treatment for these diabetic neuropathy feet complications is available, and in many cases, amputation is not necessary.

Prevention of Diabetic Neuropathy Feet

Because diabetic neuropathy often develops without warning, it’s important to catch it early. Diabetic neuropathy feet and its complications can be delayed or prevented by monitoring your blood sugar closely and maintaining good feet hygiene.

Ensure you check your feet daily. Blemishes, cuts, bruises, cracked and peeling skin, redness, and swelling are some of the signs to watch for. Examine parts of your feet that are difficult to see with a mirror or ask a friend or family member to help.

Your feet should be dry and clean always. Dirty, sweaty feet are a breeding ground for unpleasant foot odours. To keep your feet as clean as possible, wash them daily with lukewarm water and mild soap. Make sure to wash your feet every day with warm water and soap. Don’t soak your feet, and make sure to dry your feet and between your toes carefully to prevent fungal infections.  Be sure your feet are completely dry before putting on socks or shoes.

Moisturize your feet with a thick cream or lotion. It’s best to use a thick cream or lotion instead of a lotion with water because it will be easier for your skin to absorb. Some people prefer to use petroleum jelly, but that should be avoided because it can cause fungal growth. You can also use coconut or avocado oil as moisturizers. If your feet are tough to moisturize, try using a pumice stone on a regular basis. This helps exfoliate your skin and removes any dead skin cells that might be preventing lotion from sinking in.

Wearing clean, dry socks can help your feet stay dry, comfortable, and healthy. You should also look for socks that are made of cotton or moisture-wicking fibres, and without tight bands or thick seams that can retain moisture. If you have sweaty feet, look for socks that are designed to wick away moisture and keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Shoes or slippers that fit well and are comfortable can help keep your feet and legs comfortable throughout the day. The right shoes or slippers can also help reduce the risk of injury or soreness. Make sure your shoes or slippers are made of a soft material so that your feet and legs feel relaxed and don’t feel pain when you are wearing them.

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