Diabetes is a serious condition characterized by high blood sugar levels that can lead to blood flow and nerve issues. The tiny nerves and blood vessels in our feet and toes are especially vulnerable to complications from diabetes.
The two main complications affecting the feet (which can lead to a myriad of other issues) are:
As a result, common foot problems can lead to serious complications. In severe cases, infections in the feet may lead to gangrene and possibly amputation of the infected areas.
Constant monitoring and specialized foot care from a foot specialist is essential for diabetes patients. A chiropodist can help you keep your feet healthy: they will check for adequate circulation, signs of neuropathy, risk for foot ulcers, and manage any nail and skin concerns.
In people with diabetes, common foot problems can cause serious complications. Even seemingly small and normal issues require the attention of a foot specialist.
Diabetes can cause the following complications and symptoms in the feet:
Contact your doctor or foot specialist immediately if you have diabetes and your feet display any of the following signs and symptoms:
Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, a hormone that lets our body break down glucose (sugars) from food and convert it to energy. In diabetic patients, the pancreas does not work properly. This causes a chain reaction throughout the body, as our organs rely on the energy from glucose to function. The chain reaction leads to poor circulation (Peripheral Vascular Disease) and nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy).
Diabetic neuropathy can cause loss sensation to the limbs and feet. This is problematic because pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong so that we can fix it: if we lose feeling in our feet from diabetic neuropathy, it means we may not notice if there’s something wrong that needs attention.
On top of that, diabetes patients don’t have enough blood flow to their feet due to Peripheral Vascular Disease. Good blood flow is required to stimulate our body’s healing process and immune response – without it, the feet’s ability to heal from wounds is compromised. That means otherwise benign issues that typically go away on their own, like a callus or sore, cannot heal properly and may become infected.
The compromised immune system of diabetes patients has difficulty fighting off these infections. If the infection grows, it can cause gangrene (tissue death) and foot ulcers (open sores on the feet). If these get worse, it can lead to irreparable damage in the foot, which can lead to amputation and even death.
In rare cases, nerve damage from diabetes can also change the feet (i.e.: Charcot’s foot). This occurs when the bones and toes in the feet shift and break as a result of compensating for nerve damage. The shifting and breaking of the bones affects the shape of the feet.
Foot problems for diabetes patients can be a “double whammy”. This is because: 1) Diabetes makes you more vulnerable to developing complications from seemingly harmless foot issues (like a cut or scrape); and 2) You may not even notice these issues when they arise due to diabetes’ effect on your ability to feel sensation in your feet.
Therefore, in order to manage and prevent complications in your feet, it’s important to be proactive and seek treatment from a foot specialist on a regular basis, ideally before issues arise.
Treatment for diabetes-related pain and complications affecting the feet may include:
Putting your feet in the hands of a healthcare professional is one of the best ways to treat, manage and prevent the effects of diabetes on your feet.
To schedule a diabetes foot exam, click the “Book Appointment” button at the top of this page or call 416-769-FEET(3338). You do not need a physician’s referral.
Certain risk factors may increase your chances of diabetic foot complications:
Promptly identifying and treating skin and toenail problems is critical for preventing complications. With routine and diligent footcare and foot monitoring, you can reduce your risk of serious complications or prevent them entirely.
Prevention measures include:
Diabetic care products, including orthopedic shoes, creams, and foot device, are available in our Toronto foot clinic.
Prevention is paramount to managing the effects of diabetes on your feet. Putting your feet in the hands of a healthcare professional is one of the best, proactive ways to prevent diabetic complications. To schedule a diabetic foot assessment with our licensed Chiropodists (foot specialists), click the “Book Appointment” button above or call 416-769-FEET(3338).
Our Toronto foot clinic is open Monday-Friday from 10 am-6 pm, Saturdays from 9 am-4 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our Foot clinic.
Our simple to use, online booking process makes it easy to book an appointment with a chiropodist for any of our services. No referral needed!
Emily is the newest addition to the Feet First family. She assists with the clinic’s accounting and finances, as well as all the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the clinic running smoothly. In addition to her accounting smarts, she brings sunshine and positivity to everyone at Feet First Clinic.
Part of our administrative support staff, Erica also works behind the scenes writing and editing content for our website and blog. She loves researching and writing educational content to help patients and anyone dealing with pain. When she’s not busy in the clinic, you’ll find her at her local gym, exploring underground music, hiking with friends, or cheering on her favourite sports teams (Go Jays!). She also loves huskies!
Day in and out, Bianca works hard to ensure Feet First Clinic runs smoothly. Customer service is at the top of her list and she treats every customer like family. Bianca has a passion for fitness and is dedicated to helping people take care of their feet and body. There is no problem that she can’t solve and she believes that where there is a will, there’s a way.
If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.