The most common diabetic foot problem is called neuropathy. This describes nerve damage in the feet caused high levels of glucose in the blood. This nerve damage causes loss of sensation in the feet, preventing feelings of hot, cold, or pain.
Another common complication is peripheral vascular disease, which affects the circulation and blood flow to the feet. Lack of proper blood flow slows down the healing of any sores and cuts. This can lead to a higher risk for skin and nail complications such as athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails, and ulcers.
When nerve damage and poor circulation are present, it is extremely difficult for wounds to heal and increases the risk for infection. In order to prevent infections from spreading, sometimes amputation is necessary. Diabetes is the most common cause of leg amputation (not resulting from injury). In order to prevent amputation, it is imperative that diabetes is managed correctly and symptoms are watched daily.