Why Do People with Diabetes Have Foot Problems? Understanding Diabetic Symptoms on Feet

Diabetes can affect various parts of the body, and one such area is the feet. The feet problem with diabetes is a common concern that diabetics face, and it’s important to understand the diabetic symptoms and why diabetes can cause foot problems.

Diabetes can cause reduced blood flow to your feet, making it hard for wounds and infections to heal. This condition can also lead to nerve damage, which means you may not feel any pain from these wounds or infections. These two main factors are why do diabetes have foot problems.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Identifying Diabetic Symptoms on Feet

Recognizing diabetic symptoms on feet early can make a significant difference in management and treatment. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they often include:

  1. Numbness or loss of sensation
  2. A tingling or burning sensation
  3. Sharp pains or cramps
  4. Increased sensitivity to touch
  5. Loss of balance or coordination

These symptoms are typically the first signs of feet problem with diabetes. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider immediately to prevent further complications.

Why Do Diabetes Have Foot Problems?

To understand why diabetes can lead to foot problems, we need to delve a bit deeper into what happens in the body when blood sugar levels are not well-controlled.

High blood sugar can damage blood vessels, reducing the blood supply to your feet. It can also affect the nerves, leading to diabetic neuropathy. This nerve damage may prevent you from feeling any pain, heat, or cold in your feet.

These factors make a dangerous combination. If you have an injury or infection on your foot, reduced blood flow can make it hard for it to heal, and nerve damage can mean you don’t feel the problem to treat it promptly. This is the crux of foot problem in diabetes.

Does Diabetes Cause Foot Pain? How?

The answer is yes, diabetes can cause foot pain. This pain is often due to diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage resulting from long-term high blood sugar levels. However, it’s crucial to remember that not everyone with diabetes will experience foot pain. In fact, some people with severe nerve damage may not feel any pain at all. This lack of sensation is why regular foot checks are essential for people with diabetes.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic nerve injury is possible if blood sugar levels are not adequately managed. Nerve injury may numb your legs and feet to heat, cold, and pain. This is called “sensory diabetic neuropathy.” Neuropathy may cause a foot cut or sore from worsening and getting infected.

You may have problems with your foot’s skeletal muscles if the nerves that supply them are injured. A misalignment of your foot might lead to excessive pressure on one portion of your foot, resulting in injury.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

In addition, diabetes may cause a decrease in blood flow. When insufficient blood flow to an area, the wound or cut will take longer to heal.

Problems with blood flow to the extremities, such as the arms and legs, are “peripheral vascular diseases.”

It can cause ulcers or gangrene. If you have a chronic infection, you might be in trouble.


What Are The Common Foot Problems With Diabetes?

Foot issues are common. Diabetes may lead to infection and amputation from common foot ailments.

feet problem with diabetes

Athlete’s foot

It is a sort of fungus. It causes itchy, red marks and cracks on the feet. Infections may occur via skin cracks. Athletes’ foot is treated with fungicides. Pills and creams are used.

Nail Infection

It is a common type of problem for a diabetes person. Nails may crumble.  Dark, wet, and heated shoes may develop fungus. Nail injuries may cause fungal infections.

Nail fungus is difficult to cure. Some fungal nail diseases may be treated with nail-applied medications. You may require oral medication. 


Calluses are hard skin buildups on foot. Weight distribution causes calluses. Poorly fitted shoes or skin problems may create calluses. Your doctor will determine whether your callus is creating complications.

Care for your callus. Use a pumice stone to eliminate built-up tissue after a bath or shower. Use cushioned shoe inserts. Drugs soften calluses. Do not use a sharp item to cut the callus.


Corns are hard skin buildups on toes or between toes. Shoes that rub or produce friction between your toes might develop corns.

Don’t neglect them. Use a pumice stone to eliminate built-up tissue after a bath or shower. Don’t use OTC corn cures. NEVER use a sharp implement to cut or extract corn.


Unfitting shoes or going sockless might cause inflamed blisters. It’s crucial to avoid “popping” blisters. The blister’s skin prevents infection. Protect skin against infection with antibacterial cream and comfortable bandages.



The big toe bends toward the second toe, causing a bunion. The big toe joint often turns inflamed and callused. This region may be difficult.

Both feet may have bunions. Most typically, high-heeled shoes with small toes induce bunions. These shoes stretch the big toe toward the second.

Felt or foam cushioning may soothe a bunion. If the bunion causes discomfort or deformity, you may require surgery.

Dry Skin

Cracked skin may let bacteria in. Moisturize your skin using soaps and lotions. 

A foot ulcer is a deep sore. It is  Infective. Minor scratches, slow-healing wounds, or rubbing shoes may cause foot ulcers.

Treat them as quickly as possible. Consult your doctor about ulcer treatment. 10% of diabetics get foot ulcers.


A weakening muscle causes hammertoe. Weakened muscles shorten toe tendons, producing toe-curling. Hammertoes are hereditary.

Too-short shoes might cause them. Hammertoes may develop into blisters, calluses, and ulcers. Splints and orthotics may help. In extreme situations, toe surgery may be needed.

Toenail Ingrowth

Shoes cause most ingrown toenails. Untrimmed nails, crowded toes, and recurrent foot injuries from jogging, walking, or aerobics are further reasons.

Trim your toenails to avoid ingrown. Persistent problems or nail infections may need medical attention. Ingrown toenails may cause significant issues that need surgery.

Foot warts

Plantar warts appear like ball-of-foot or heel calluses. The center may feature pinholes or black patches. Painful warts develop singly or in groups. Let your doctor determine whether you have a plantar wart or callus. 


Managing Diabetes Feet Problem

Preventing and managing foot problem in diabetes involves maintaining good blood sugar control, regular foot examination, and proper foot care. Here are some tips:

  • Every day, be sure to check your feet.
  • A daily ritual of foot washing. You can use a Homedics Foot Washer for this purpose.
  • Make a clean cut over the top of each of your toenails using a clipper.
  • To keep your feet safe, make sure you’re walking in shoes with tight-fitting laces and socks or slippers.
  • Have your feet examined at your regular routine checkups.

Wrap Up

Understanding why diabetes can lead to foot problems is the first step towards prevention. Remember, if you have diabetes, it’s essential to pay special attention to foot care. By recognizing diabetic symptoms on feet early and managing your blood sugar levels effectively, you can prevent complications and maintain healthy feet.

Don’t let diabetes feet problem take a toll on your health. Be proactive, and take steps today to protect your feet for tomorrow.

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