How Can Diabetes Affect Your Feet?

Diabetes can result in high glucose levels in the blood which can lead to a variety of complications throughout the body. It can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause foot complications that, if not treated properly, can lead to necessary use of antibiotics, hospitalization, and/or surgery requiring possible amputation of the toes, foot, and even lower leg. 

Poor Circulation

There can be reduced blood to the foot due to injured blood vessels. Lack of circulation can weaken skin, contribute to wound (ulcer) development, and impair wound healing. Gangrene (tissue death) is another serious complication. Things get more complicated when the wound/gangrene is also infected. Poor blood flow results in decreased ability to fight infection. The inability to effectively heal wounds and/or gangrene can lead to surgery and possibly amputation.

Nerve Damage

High glucose blood levels damage nerves along the lower extremity causing a decrease in sensation of pain, temperature, and pressure. Diabetic patients can develop pressure points or calluses along the feet. Their inability to feel can cause breakage of the skin and an ulcer to form. Nerve injury can also weaken muscles within the foot resulting in foot deformities. 

Skin Changes

Skin can become excessively dry and scaly. The lack of moisture weakens the skin and makes it prone to cracking which can result in wounds. Corns and calluses may also develop due to pressure points that go unnoticed. These can then develop into wounds/ulcers.

If you are diabetic, it is important to get regular foot check-ups to prevent complications that can be caused by diabetes. Take control of your health and schedule your appointment with Aloha Foot and Ankle Associates today!

Visoth Chan, DPM

Foot and Ankle Surgeon

Aloha Foot and Ankle Asssociates


Visoth Chan, DPM Dr. Visoth Chan is the owner and medical director of Aloha Foot and Ankle Associates. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience. Following this, she received her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree at the California School of Podiatric Medicine in Oakland. She subsequently completed her podiatric surgical residency at White Memorial in Los Angeles. She takes great pride in her role at Aloha Foot and Ankle Associates and strives to make sure her patients have the best care possible. When not treating patients, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family, especially her daughter, Emmylou.

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