Foot Pain & Diabetes Symptoms

Foot pain is a common problem for people with diabetes. There are four main conditions that result in diabetics experiencing foot pain and receiving a proper diagnosis is essential to treatment. In addition, some conditions are progressive in their nature and failing to seek a diagnosis can lead to permanent nerve damage.


According to Kenneth B. Rehm DPM, the most common reason for foot pain in a diabetic is peripheral neuropathy. This a disorder in which the nerves are negatively impacted.
There are three types of peripheral neuropathy: motor, sensory and autonomic.
The majority of diabetes related neuropathy is due to sensory neuropathy. In sensory neuropathy the pain is not proportionate to the action causing the pain. Placing a sheet on a foot is extremely painful in this type of neuropathy.
Treatment includes recording blood sugar levels for several weeks to determine if it is fluctuating and if so, getting it under control. Foot massages with a diabetic foot cream can also help alleviate the pain.


Motor Neuropathy 

In motor neuropathy the feet feel achy and weak as nerves to the muscles are affected by disease progression. This type of neuropathy commonly affects the shin muscles and the small muscles in the foot. This type of neuropathy also impacts the ability to balance when one walks which can lead to callouses and skin inflammation.
Treatment includes foot massages, foot exercises and wearing supportive shoes. Fungal infection is a risk with this type of neuropathy because the skin on the foot can become thick, stiff and cracked. An antibiotic foot cream is prescribed for this condition.


Circulation Problems 

Circulation problems are also common among diabetics. When there is poor circulation in the feet, it can create severe pain. The foot will feel numb to the touch but the pain is under the skin, involving capillaries and veins which are not receiving a proper amount of oxygen. In addition, the veins can become swollen and the blood does not flow properly, creating intense pain when blood pools in the feet. It can leak out of the skin which creates painful foot ulcers.

Muscle pain

Another common source of foot pain in a diabetic involves the muscles and the joints. This usually happens when there is also a circulation problem or neuropathy involved. The muscles ultimately become affected and the tendons become stiff and begin to contract. This process can be painful as well as deforming and creates difficulty in balance when walking.
Specially made shoes, massages and foot exercises can all help slow the progress of muscle and joint problems associated with diabetes.


Diabetics are more susceptible to yeast, fungal and bacterial infections of the foot. These are caused by nutrition and medical changes that take place in the body of a diabetic.
Infections are treated with antibiotics both in cream form and in oral form. In addition, prevention becomes key and is aided through maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, proper nutrition and daily examinations of both feet to ensure that nothing is beginning to develop.


While diabetics are more prone to foot pain, careful monitoring, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and consistent examinations of the feet can prevent problems from starting, and help correct problems that have begun. If you have foot pain and diabetes symptoms, it is important to have it evaluated by your physician.

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