Diabetes signs in your feet – the 14 symptoms to watch out for

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High blood sugar and poor circulation as a result of diabetes puts you at risk of developing problems with your feet. If you know the signs to watch out for, you can avoid the most serious foot problems. So, what are the symptoms to be on the look out for?

People with diabetes can suffer problems in their feet as a result of their condition.

High levels of blood sugar can damage the sensation in your feet, while poor circulation can result in cramps, pains and slow healing.

It’s really important to know what symptoms to look out for. If left untreated, foot problems could lead to ulcers, infections and even amputations.

Most serious foot problems can be avoided by looking after your feet, checking them daily and keeping active.

Diabetes.org.uk advises checking your feet every day, so you can spot the first signs of any issues.

You can check your feet when you wake up or when you’re going to bed.

Have a good look at your feet – including the soles, using a mirror if you need to – as well as touching your toes to check for sensations in your feet.

If you notice any of the following 10 signs, you should see your GP:

  • Pins and needles
  • A burning sensation
  • Dull aches
  • Shiny skin
  • Hair loss on your legs or feet
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Feet not sweating
  • Cuts or sores not healing
  • Cramp in your calves

What are the signs of a serious diabetic foot problem?

There are four symptoms you should seek urgent help for. These are:

  1. Your feet changing colour or shape
  2. Hot or cold feet
  3. Blisters or cuts you can see but can’t feel
  4. A strong smell coming from an open wound

For urgent care, you can contact your local foot protection team.

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What to do if you notice a foot problem

If you notice any of the above problems, you should seek medical advice straight away. However, in the meantime, you should take the weight off your foot.

Contact your GP or your foot protection team immediately, and if they aren’t available, then go to your nearest out-of-hours healthcare service.

A small complaint with your foot can become serious very quickly if left untreated. For some people, a serious foot problem can escalate to needing an amputation very quickly, so you must not delay in seeking medical help.

What will the foot specialists do?

The foot specialist will assess how serious the problem is and your level of risk, which they will explain to you.

They will then talk to you to create a personalised care plan, which may include treatment, supportive footwear and advice about looking after your feet.

You should have an annual diabetes foot check, but if you notice an issue with your foot, don’t wait for your annual check to come around to get it checked out.

Spotting symptoms early can prevent them from becoming serious problems.

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