Neuropathy in feet is commonly associated with diabetes. Diabetic foot neuropathy manifests as a complication of long-term diabetes, or more specifically with the presence of chronically elevated blood sugar levels which is commonly found in long-term diabetics.
Neuropathy is not only found in the feet but it is typically identified in the feet before other areas of the body. Many diabetics suffer from diabetic neuropathy in various parts of the body such as the legs, feet, arms, and hands as well as some other areas. Most commonly neuropathy is found in these areas because the nerves leading to these areas of the body are the longest. As glucose levels in the blood remain high for years at a time damage to these nerves can result in neuropathy.
Neuropathy in the hands, arms, and legs is usually less frequent then neuropathy in feet because the nerves to the feet are longer and are thus more susceptible to damage and disrepair. When diabetic start developing neuropathy in their legs and feet some will experience a tingling or a slight to moderate amount of pain but typically diabetic neuropathy symptoms do not include pain. In fact, most people who start developing neuropathy in the feet feel the opposite; they feel no sensation at all.
Why Diabetic Foot Neuropathy Is So Serious
It may be easy to rationalize that diabetic neuropathy in the feet is not serious if it doesn’t result in pain but that would be a mischaracterization. Foot neuropathy due to nerve damage is quite serious because it leaves you vulnerable to foot injuries which would otherwise be avoidable in most people who do not have neuropathic complications.
If for instance you have foot neuropathy and you cannot feel sensation in your feet then you wouldn’t know that you are developing a blister on your feet from a long day of labor or walking. You may not realize that you have a pebble in your shoe causing friction against your skin if you have diabetic neuropathy of the foot. You may not realize that your foot is too tight in your shoes.
Many people start their day by putting on their shoes and never thinking twice about their feet again until they remove their shoes at the end of the day. Having said that however most everybody with normal sensation in their feet will always stop to adjust their shoe for tightness, remove a pebble or foreign object from their insole, or take a seat when a blister begins forming. People with normal nerve sensations will always favor a foot if it is irritated. This is a defense mechanism which helps keep our feet healthy.
In diabetics experiencing neuropathy in the lower legs and foot region these adjustments do not happen because the person does not realize there is a problem. As a result many diabetic get foot injuries they would never have developed otherwise. Neuropathy doesn’t cause these injuries but it makes you much more likely to develop them through normal day to day activities.
Risks Of Untreated Diabetic Neuropathy In Feet
Still you may wonder why this is such a big deal. These are small injuries that heal quickly you may contend. This may be the case if you have normal blood flow in the region but in many people with diabetes this is not the case. Not only do elevated blood sugar levels cause damage to the nerves but it also damages many of the small arteries and capillaries in the far reaches of your extremities. Circulation problems often develop in the fingers toes, hands, and feet of many diabetics which can make any small injury in these areas difficult to heal and at risk for infection. There is a reason why most amputations are performed on diabetics; as these small injuries occur they are coupled with a circulatory system which is not capable of fighting off infection and healing the injury. Small cuts, blisters, and puncture wounds can easily get infected, grow into festering wounds or ulcers and then threaten the surrounding bone and blood.
If you have diabetic neuropathy you need to understand this and you need to take appropriate steps to prevent it or stop it from worsening. It’s arguable that reversing neuropathy in feet is possible but some would contend that by making significant changes to your lifestyle you can heal damaged nerves bringing some sensation back to your feet.
Before you get to this stage however you should read more on how to prevent diabetic neuropathy, how to treat diabetic neuropathy, and learn about what types of foot care products can help you live with neuropathy in the feet. There are many different shoes for diabetic neuropathy which are worth buying as well as diabetic neuropathy socks. In addition to the aforementioned blog posts make sure to read more on diabetic foot neuropathy symptoms and the treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Take this condition seriously because as many diabetics know, activity is the best way to help mange blood sugar levels and it can be hard to stay active with foot injuries.