Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Foot Health: Insights from a Podiatrist


Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions worldwide, and its impact extends far beyond just blood sugar levels. One often overlooked aspect of diabetes is its effect on foot health. As a podiatrist, I’ve seen firsthand how diabetes can lead to serious complications when it comes to the feet. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this connection and explore how individuals with diabetes can protect their foot health.

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The Diabetes-Foot Connection:

The relationship between diabetes and foot health is intricate and multifaceted. Elevated blood sugar levels over time can lead to nerve damage, known as diabetic neuropathy, which often affects the feet first. This neuropathy can cause a loss of sensation, making it difficult for individuals to detect injuries or sores. Additionally, diabetes can impair blood circulation, particularly to the extremities like the feet, further complicating the healing process.

Complications Arising from Diabetes:

1. Ulcers and Infections:

Due to reduced sensation and compromised circulation, even minor injuries such as blisters or cuts can go unnoticed and untreated, leading to the development of ulcers. These ulcers can become infected and, if left untreated, may progress to more severe complications, including gangrene.

2. Charcot Foot:

Charcot foot is a condition characterised by weakening and collapse of the foot’s arch. It often occurs in individuals with diabetic neuropathy who continue to walk on an injured foot, unaware of the damage being done. Without proper intervention, Charcot foot can result in deformity and disability.

3. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD):

Diabetes is a significant risk factor for PAD, a condition characterised by narrowed arteries and reduced blood flow to the extremities. PAD can lead to pain while walking (claudication), slow wound healing, and an increased risk of amputation if severe.

Preventive Measures and Management:

1. Daily Foot Inspection:

Individuals with diabetes should inspect their feet daily for any signs of injury, redness, swelling, or sores. Prompt attention to any abnormalities can help prevent minor issues from escalating into serious complications.

2. Proper Foot Care:

Keeping the feet clean and moisturized, trimming toenails carefully, and wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes are essential for preventing injuries and minimizing the risk of complications.

3. Regular Podiatric Check-ups:

Routine visits to a podiatrist are crucial for individuals with diabetes to assess foot health, identify any issues early on, and receive appropriate treatment and advice.

4. Blood Sugar Control:

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Maintaining stable blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and medication as prescribed by a healthcare provider is fundamental in preventing or delaying diabetic complications, including those affecting the feet.


As a podiatrist, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of proactive foot care for individuals living with diabetes. By understanding the link between diabetes and foot health and implementing preventive measures, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of serious complications. Regular communication with healthcare providers, including podiatrists, is key to managing diabetes effectively and preserving foot health for years to come.

If you are living with diabetes or have concerns about your foot health, don’t wait until complications arise. Proactive care is essential in managing diabetes and preventing serious foot issues. Book an appointment with us today to receive a comprehensive foot assessment. Feel free to book an appointment online or call us at 7120 6063.

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