Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, and its primary function is to control the amount of glucose, a natural sugar source, in the bloodstream, so it can be distributed to the body’s various cells to be used for energy. When a person has diabetes, he or she does not have enough insulin, either as the result of the pancreas not making enough of the hormone or the body does not using it correctly. This can cause the bloodstream to have overly high amounts of glucose since insulin cannot control and distribute it throughout the body, and may lead to nerve damage. Due to this likelihood of nerve damage, diabetics are often prone to foot pain; however, this pain can be treated in order to prevent any serious complications.
At the beginning stages, diabetic foot pain may be able to be treated by switching to more supportive shoes and socks. The extra padding can help ensure there is minimal friction between the feet and any hard walking surfaces. Doctors will usually recommend that diabetics with foot pain do not go barefoot or wear sandals, pointy-toed shoes, or high heels, to prevent any injuries to the feet that may lead to infection. Diabetic footwear, shoes that are designed to offer maximum support and prevent injury for diabetics, may also be worn to treat the first stages of diabetic foot pain.
If diabetic foot pain worsens, it is typically the result of a cut, blister, or other foot injury becoming infected. At the first sign of an open wound on the foot, a diabetic should visit a doctor immediately. If the infection is minor, it may be treated with the use of antibiotic medications to kill any bacteria causing the infection. The infected areas of the foot may also be scraped away to prevent the infection from spreading. For serious infections that cannot be controlled or have started to spread uncontrollably, amputating the foot may be the only treatment option to save the person’s life.
One of the most common ways to prevent diabetic foot pain from worsening is to pay special attention to proper foot hygiene. If the feet start to hurt, it may often be a sign of injury, such as blisters or cuts. If the feet are not kept clean, it can increase the chances of injuries becoming infected. A diabetic with foot injuries should wash the feet twice a day with warm, soapy water and dry them carefully with a soft towel in order to prevent additional irritation.