Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Effects of Diabetic Neuropathy on the Foot

Understanding diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a common side effect for diabetics. Diabetics are prone to a number of nerve disorders. If left untreated or ignored, diabetes could lead to nerve damage on any part of the body. The common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are numbness, tingling etc. This can occur in the extremities and they can also occur in any of the organs. Some diabetics who have nerve damage may not even show any symptoms.

Causes of diabetic neuropathy

Almost sixty to seventy percent of diabetics suffer from some kind of diabetic neuropathy. The risk of neuropathy rises as a diabetic gets older. Diabetics have to be very careful with their diet, exercise and medication. People who are not following any kind of treatment to control diabetes are more prone to diabetic neuropathy.

Inflammation of the nerves due to autoimmunity raises the risk of neuropathy. Injuries that occur to the extremities like carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures etc can lead to diabetic neuropathy in that area. Some people are plain unlucky and may have inherited this gene from their ancestors. Obesity and substance abuse can also be a cause in developing this disease.

Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

The type of neuropathy a person has dictates which part of the body is affected. The severity of the neuropathy also differs from person to person. Extremities are usually the most common part of the body to get affected. If a person develops diabetic neuropathy of the feet, it means that the nerve endings in the feet are damaged.

Dealing with diabetic neuropathy of the foot

When a diabetic develops neuropathy of the foot it can be extremely dangerous. There are quite a few signs that one should be aware of when you are a diabetic. Burning or shooting pain, tingling, deformities etc are just some of the symptoms to watch out for. One of the symptoms of neuropathy is numbness. So, a person suffering from diabetic neuropathy of the foot will be unable to feel pain. If there is an injury to the foot, it may go unnoticed for a while, leading to other complications.

Individuals with diabetic neuropathy of the feet should make sure that their feet are protected at all times. A regular check up with a podiatrist is recommended. Even something as simple as an ingrown toe nail or a corn could give rise to more severe problems.

Treating diabetic neuropathy of the foot

Prevention is better than a cure! If you are a diabetic and suffer from neuropathy of the feet, ensure that you wear comfortable footwear always. Shoe bites could go unnoticed due to numbness. Wear socks to prevent chaffing of the feet. Pamper your feet with a warm soak once a week. Moisturizing your feet prevents dry skin. Dry skin can cause chaffing, leading to wounds that can get infected. 

It is a good idea to air your feet every few hours to prevent bacteria from attacking your feet. Closed shoes can make your feet sweat. The humidity caused by wearing closed footwear is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Powdering your feet with anti fungal powder in the morning and evening will also help prevent bacteria from attacking your feet. By taking these simple preventive measures, you are safeguarding your feet from infections.

If you notice any kind of wound, tear or discolorations of the foot see a podiatrist immediately. You may need a course of ant biotic treatment to treat the problem and to prevent further complications. There are many foot products available in the market to help treat diabetic neuropathy of the foot.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Which shoes are the worst for your feet?

Footwear and its effect on your body

We spend most of the day on our feet. We walk, run, climb, stand for long periods of time and generally abuse our feet a lot. To make matters worse, we use the wrong type of footwear and add to the strain that we put on our feet. Ill fitting footwear not only puts stress on the feet, but it strains the back too. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of footwear and its effect on our feet.

Stilettos or high heels

This is by far the worst offender. The foot is in an abnormal angle and this strains your feet and your back, as the body tries to keep its equilibrium. Any kind of high heeled shoes is not good for your feet and back. Stilettos are especially bad as the chances of twisting your foot and getting an ankle sprain or a hairline fracture is a possibility. Most women prefer stilettos when they go to work, as it gives them more height. If you wear stilettos on a regular basis, try to rest your feet when you are at your table, by taking off the shoes and doing some simple foot exercises. There are insoles available that can be fitted to the stilettos to make it a bit more comfortable. Some common problems that arise when using stilettos are Achilles tendon and stress fractures.

Flip Flops

Surprisingly, flip flops which one would think is one of the most comfortable types of footwear ranks high among foot offenders. People tend to wear flip flops all the time, whether at home or going out. The reason why flip flops are not the right choice of footwear for regular use is that they don’t have an arch support.

They are also open footwear and the chances of hurting your foot are high. You could develop chronic foot problems like tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.


If your pumps are high heeled, the same injuries that occur with stilettos could happen. But high heeled pumps are worse than open toed stilettos as the whole foot is bearing down on the pointed end of the pump. Neuromas, which are inflammations between the toes, can occur along with other problems like hammer toes. The pain of a neuroma could be quite severe and you may need physical therapy or even surgery to remove it. 

Ballet shoes

You would think ballet shoes would be a good choice, but like flip flops they do not offer any support for the arch and unlike flip flops they don’t have cushioning under the feet. So you could develop corns and calluses. Wearing closed ballet shoes could also give rise to bacteria and foot infections because the enclosed shoes keep the foot humid. Some ways to prevent problems when using ballet shoes are by inserting gel supports that can give your arch support and cushion your foot. Airing your feet once in a while and using fungal powder in the morning and night should prevent bacterial build up.

Almost all kinds of shoes do affect the feet in some way. But the fact is, walking barefoot isn’t that great for your feet either. These small pieces of our body support our whole weight, help us maintain balance and are probably one of the most neglected parts of our body. So, there is really no perfect shoe for the foot. The best thing to do is find a shoe that you are comfortable in and use some kind of orthotic help to make sure that you are giving your foot optimum care.