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A 31-year-old member asked:

What exactly is a diabetic foot problem?

5 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Shaun Machen
Orthopedic Surgery 29 years experience
Foot ulceration: Diabetics have loss of protective sensation to their feet. This occurs because excess glucose in the blood causes pathological changes to the nerves. Poor sensation can lead to the development of sores or ulcers. Diabetic also have poor blood supply to their feet so it is difficult to heal the ulcers. The ulcers can get infected and cause gangrene of the foot.
Dr. Jeffrey Kass
Podiatry 28 years experience
Technically: Anyone can have a foot problem. But, diabetics often have neuropathy where they lose the ability to feel and as a result can develop infections easier. Diabetics can also be slow healers secondary to poor ciculation. So because there are more possible comornid conditions like bad circulation and poor healing..These are known as diabetic foot problems when they occur.
Dr. Fred Birnbaum
Podiatry 43 years experience
Complicated answer: Problems from diabetes usually appear when either of 2 complications of having the disease occur. The first is neuropathy which manifests as insensitive feet and legs that are easily traumatised and lead to ulcerations/infections and potential limb loss. The second is loss of peripheral circulation because diabetes affects both the main arteries as well as causing small blood vessel disease.
Dr. Libby Putnam
Podiatry 12 years experience
Nails, pulse, nerves: Diabetics can have several foot problems, including but not limited to #1: poor blood flow or weak pulses. #2: peripheral neuropathy, with tingling, burning, numbness. #3: dry, cracking skin or open wounds. To avoid these things, keep good control of your blood sugar!
Dr. Payam Rafat
Podiatry 22 years experience
Various factors: Diabetic patients often times will have poor circulation and a diminished healing ability which makes them more susceptible to developing foot infections. The presence of neuropathy is also a main contributor to the development of ulceration. If not treated promptly and appropriately, the foot ulcer can become infected, .

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Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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