If you’re diabetic, you know how much foot pain can affect your day to day life. Your doctor has probably already told you – this is called diabetic neuropathy.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy, there are steps you can take to begin to feel better. Let’s take a look at what this condition is, what causes it and what you can do about it.
What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy, in short, is nerve damage. High blood sugar can cause damage to your nerve fibers, and it’s most likely to occur in your extremities, like your feet and sometimes your hands.
In the beginning, you may just feel a bit of numbness. But over time, the condition is painful and can cause permanent trouble in your nervous system. Eventually, your nerves may just become permanently numb. In other words, your hands and feet may simply stop working.
If you catch the condition early, it’s reversible. To help prevent the worsening of diabetic neuropathy, you should check yourself daily. Make sure you use lotion on your hands and feet to prevent cracking and infection. And, most importantly, see a doctor if symptoms persist.
Types of Diabetic Neuropathy
There are four different kinds of diabetic neuropathy. The most common kind is peripheral neuropathy, which we just talked about. But there are other ways your body can be affected by blood sugar problems. Let’s go over each of those.
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage which affects your legs and feet first, then sometimes your hands and your arms. You may feel burning, tingling or even sharp pain and your feet will be impacted the most. Your feet may become deformed or develop ulcers you may lose your balance frequently. In short, it’s dangerous.
Autonomic neuropathy impacts your autonomic nervous system. That means you may begin to have problems with your heart, stomach, sex organs, intestines, lungs and eyes.
Radiculoplexus neuropathy occurs in the center of your body, including your hips and thighs. You may find that you have difficulty getting up from a seated position or that you have sudden and severe pain in these areas.
Finally, mononeuropathy effects just a single nerve group. Ask your doctor if you feel numbness in your face or any other body part.
Does Diabetic Neuropathy Hurt?
Yes! While you’ll feel numbness in the beginning, eventually you’ll begin to feel pain. The pain can be a dull ache or it can be sudden and sharp pains.
The most common site of pain for diabetics is in the feet. There are a few causes of this foot pain. First is the nerve damage itself. Not only will the “insides” of your feet hurt, but you’ll be especially sensitive to touch. Even socks can hurt your feet.
Other causes are more secondary. Common foot problems experienced by diabetics include swelling, bunions, inflammation, corns and calluses. These are all incredibly painful and although they don’t only occur in diabetics’’ feet, a diabetes patient is more likely to suffer from the disorders.
Finally, as a diabetic you have a decreased flow of oxygen to your feet. You’re more prone to skin conditions including fungal infections, dry skin and even infected cracked skin. Diabetics may notice that injuries and sores on their feet don’t heal very quickly. It’s best to visit your doctor if this is the case.
How to Remedy Diabetic Foot Pain
If you’re experiencing problems with your feet because of your diabetes, there are a few things you can do to begin feeling better.
First of all, check out a diabetic foot lotion at the pharmacy. These are available over the counter, or your doctor can prescribe one. Massaging the cream into your feet daily can help to reduce the likelihood of gangrene as well as preventing cracking and sores.
Secondly, as I’ve said a hundred times, wear proper shoes! Shoes which fit you the right way will protect your feet from injury. Good support will also be helpful if you suffer from neuropathy in other parts of your body.
Wearing the right shoes can help prevent painful corns and calluses from popping up on your foot. And a good cushion will help to absorb the shock to already aching feet.
Third, be sure you’re taking good care of your toenails. Diabetics are more prone to fungal infections and these can begin in your nail beds. Trim your toenails and keep them clean and dry. Of course, good shoes won’t rub against your toenails, so be sure your shoes fit.
Finally, be sure that you keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them using a mild soap like Ivory or even baby soap. Be sure to wash between your toes, and dry your feet thoroughly.
Diabetic Tools of the Trade
Your doctor will prescribe the best course of action for you if you suffer from diabetic neuropathy. But there are a few tools every diabetic should have in his toolbox.
Blood sugar monitor
Of course, you knew this. Pin prick monitors are available relatively inexpensively – you can even order them from Amazon. Keeping abreast of your blood sugar levels will help you spot problems or trends which may be causing your nerve pain.
If your doctor agrees, go ahead and get a few pairs of diabetic socks. These help to keep your feet dry, and they also reduce pressure in your lower leg. Diabetic socks, in a nutshell, make your feet easier to take care of. You can find some great socks our website here.
Insoles are a diabetic’s best friend. The cushioning will help your feet feel more comfortable and will ensure that your shoes fit properly. You’ll prevent corns and calluses this way, as well as keep your feet and shoes dry. Furthermore, you’ll more evenly distribute the weight of your feet, also increasing your comfort.
If you suffer from foot pain due to diabetes, your first course of action is always to speak with your doctor. But diabetic foot pain, if treated early, can easily be managed with a little attention and the right tools.
We have some really great insoles ready for you to try them. You can take a look at them here.