Foot Pain Leads to Diabetes Diagnosis

I have a patient we will call Gail who had been coming in for severe pain to her feet with swelling. Checking her feet I found her pulses were slow and skin temperature was cool. She denied any history of injury or activity that would lead to injury.

Because her pain was sharp in nature and after reviewing her history she drank alcohol daily at least 3 drinks a night. Bingo, I thought. Alcohol consumption can cause Alcoholic Neuropathy and also because its a vasodilator it can cause swelling. First had her circulation tested in my office and was normal. Next, we had a Nerve Conduction Study done. It too was normal.

Gail being frustrated finally took my advice to cut all alcohol and wear compression hose daily. Guess what, no swelling and reduced pain after the first week. Even though pain was reduced I probed further into her family history which on the initial visit she denied any history of diabetes in her family. I asked more questions and she told me her foot pain was reduced but she had dry mouth and constantly having to go to the bathroom. Are you sure there is no diabetes in your family I asked. She finally admitted that all her siblings were diabetics but they never had foot pain and swelling like me. I asked about their alcohol consumption and she said it was low.

I told her I suspected diabetes was the culprit and sent her to the lab for a random blood sugar in her and urine test. Guess what, both results came back high. Then I sent her to my friend who is an Endocrinologist and he ran a fasting blood test on her. Results? You guessed it out of control diabetic with both diabetic neuropathy and alcoholic neuropathy. She was placed on oral medications and started to lose some weight and after a short period of time her finger sticks were near the normal range.

Moral of this story. Always be open and honest with your doctors be it a Podiatrist or other doctor. Gail is now pain free in her feet and no more constant swelling.

If you have diabetes or are concerned with the complications of diabetes, contact Dr. Jeff Bowman of Houston Foot Specialists by calling 713-467-8886 or visit our website for a lot of material on diabetes and online appointments at

2013 Jeff Bowman., All Rights Reserved

Category: Diabetes

Tags: Alcoholic Neuropathy, Diabetes, foot pain, Foot Problems, Foot Swelling, Neuropathy