Foot Problems (Diabetes) (cont.)

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What are examples and symptoms of foot problems caused by diabetes?

In the most severe case, as mentioned above, due to a combination of decreased sensation and reduced blood flow to the feet, ulcers may develop. If the tissues continue to receive insufficient oxygen, tissue death (gangrene) occurs. Gangrene is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Other potentially serious problems that may develop include cellulitis (infection of the tissues beneath the skin) and osteomyelitis (infection of the bone); sepsis (the infection spreads to the bloodstream) also is  possible.

People with diabetes are at increased risk for milder problems with the feet that are not specific to diabetes but may occur more frequently due to problems with the nerves and circulation to the feet.

Some of these conditions are:

  • Calluses and corns, that may develop due to abnormal alignment of the feet or abnormal gait
  • Fungal infections of the nails, which can appear as thickened, discolored, and at times brittle nails
  • Tinea pedis, or athlete's foot, a fungal infection of the skin of the feet
  • Hammertoes, or bent toes due to muscle weakness.
  • Bunions, or the angling of the big toe toward the second toe. The area of the bunion may become reddened and irritated, leading to callus formation.
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Cracking of the skin of the feet, especially the heels, due to dry skin
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/25/2014

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Foot Problems with Diabetes - Experience Question: What kind of problems have you had with your feet due to your diabetes?
Diabetes and Foot Problems - Prevention Question: What measures do you take to prevent problems with your feet due to diabetes?
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Diabetes and Foot Problems - Symptoms Question: What foot problems have you experienced as a person living with diabetes, and what symptoms were associated with the foot issues?
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