How can diabetes affect the feet?

With diabetes, the whole body is affected, including the feet. As diabetes affects blood circulation and increases nerve sensitivity, feet are particularly prone to problems. It is very important for diabetics to clean their feet daily, to do a daily foot check and to have them checked regularly by a chiropodist, even though there may not be any problems obvious to you. For example, some signs to watch out for and to act upon are itchiness, redness, bruising, burning, blisters, coolness, roughened areas, lack of sensitivity to temperature and of course any pain in the feet.

There are many complications that can arise due to diabetes.  One of the complications that can lead to foot problems for people with diabetes is peripheral or diabetic neuropathy.  This type of neuropathy causes nerve damage in the feet causing you to lose feeling in your feet or may cause a burning or tingling sensation.  When this occurs, you start to lose sensation and you are not able to feel things like a pebble in your shoes or socks, a blister caused by poor fitting shoes, changes in temperature, etc.   These injuries can lead to ulcers that can eventually lead to amputation.

All people with diabetes are at risk for foot problems.  Certain warning signs can put one at a higher risk for developing ulcers (foot sores).  These signs include calluses or corns, numbness or tingling in the feet, loss of feeling in your feet, poor circulation in your legs or feet, foot deformity such as bunions and hammer toes, etc. It is also important to check your blood sugars daily and have your hemoglobin A1c monitored by your physician.  Normal blood sugar values should be between 4-6 mmol/L and hemoglobin A1c should be kept under 7.

If you are diabetic, visit Ontario Foot and Orthoitcs for a full diabetic screen and for any questions you may having regarding diabetes and your feet.  To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at