The Dangers of Diabetic Neuropathy

While it’s tempting to go barefoot in the summertime, you should definitely resist shunning your socks and shoes, especially if you have diabetes! Going barefoot puts you at risk for injury, and if you have neuropathy (which is often associated with diabetes), even the smallest injury – a stubbed toe, a splinter, or a scratch -- can quickly become a major problem.

Diabetic neuropathy occurs because high blood sugar levels damage nerves in the feet. This leads to a gradual emergence of symptoms which can include tingling, burning, weakness, tenderness, pain, and numbness. When lack of sensation is present, you can become injured without even realizing it! Simply walking barefoot on a beach with sand that’s too hot or stepping into a bath of scalding water – things you would normally notice and respond to – can burn your feet without your knowledge. You could even step on a piece of glass and not even know it. To make matters worse, poor blood flow, also associated with diabetes, delays healing nutrients from reaching wounds, which means a dangerous infection can easily set in and result in serious consequences.

Fortunately, diabetic neuropathy can be managed by controlling blood sugar levels and making a few lifestyle changes. Eating right, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol will all help to minimize symptoms. Medication can help as well. Of course, preventing injury is key to avoiding complications, so keep those shoes on and be sure to inspect your feet every day to catch problems at the onset before they have time to get worse.

If you need help managing diabetic neuropathy, or have noticed a wound that won’t heal on your foot, don’t hesitate to call us. You can reach our Houston, TX office at (713) 493-7372 to get the prompt treatment you need. We’ll help you stay safe this summer, and all year ‘round!