As many as half of people with diabetes develop diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy (also known as peripheral neuropathy) is nerve damage caused by the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes.
Diabetic neuropathy usually affects the nerves running through your feet and hands. You often lose sensation in your feet, which makes you vulnerable to infection caused by unnoticed cuts or blisters. Some people with diabetic neuropathy get shooting pains in their lower legs. Symptoms may take years to develop while for others, the pain begins suddenly and severely.
The podiatric specialists at Go Feet with offices in Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey, provide diabetic foot care to help patients prevent complications associated with peripheral neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can’t be cured, though.
Here are tips our team offers to help you control the condition and prevent it from worsening.
Use medications wisely
Not everyone responds to medications the same way. You may need a combination of drugs to feel relief from neuropathy pain. But, remember, combining medications or taking high doses can raise the chance of experiencing side effects.
Manage your blood sugar levels
Follow the protocol provided by your diabetes specialist to manage your blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled high blood sugar worsens the nerve damage of diabetic neuropathy. Take any diabetes medication as prescribed, watch your diet, and limit alcohol intake.
Take impeccable care of your feet
Because diabetic neuropathy causes you to lose sensation in your feet, you’re more likely to experience an injury — like a cut or blister. And, if you don’t do daily foot checks, you may not notice the injury until it’s developed into a serious infection.
We recommend you wash and dry your feet daily and check for any red spots, swelling, or splits in the skin. Use a mirror, or ask a loved one for help if you can’t readily see the bottom of your feet.
Wear comfortable shoes
Comfortable, but supportive, shoes keep foot problems like corns, blisters, and calluses from forming. We recommend you avoid pointy-toed shoes and high heels, which cramp your toes and put a lot of pressure on the ball of your foot. Sandals, flip flops, and open-toed shoes make your feet vulnerable to injury.
Opt for full coverage shoes that fit snugly, but not tightly. Keep them on much of the day to protect your feet from injury. If you have questions about how to find the right shoes for you, we can help. We also offer custom orthotics that can help your shoes feel and fit better.
Staying active helps you manage a healthy weight, which means it’s easier to control your diabetes. When you have control over your diabetes, you can positively impact your neuropathy. If you aren’t sure what types of activities are right for you, talk to one of our providers. They can help you decide what types of exercise are best for your abilities and fitness level.
Find a qualified podiatrist
Here at Go Feet, we provide the specialized foot care diabetics need. We offer regular professional foot checks, footwear recommendations, and treatment for any problems that arise. Depending on the progression of your neuropathy and your symptoms, we may recommend physical therapy and MLS laser therapy to relieve pain and restore function.