It is well established that the longer a person has the disease, the greater is the incidence and severity of complications of diabetes mellitus. Although good control of blood sugar and blood pressure are extremely important in maintaining your optimum health, other factors can be important in the development of diabetic foot disorders.
Foot problems in persons with diabetes are usually the result of three primary factors : Neuropathy (diminished sensation), Poor circulation, and a decreased resistance to Infection. Additionally, Foot deformities and Trauma play major roles in causing ulcerations and infections in the presence of neuropathy or poor circulation.
Neuropathy can generally be defined as a loss of sensation or alteration in sensitivity in the feet and legs. There may be a diminished or absent ability to detect painful sensations such as a pinprick or the heat of sand at the beach in the Summer or hot water. Your ability to detect the tightness of a shoe might also be affected. Neuropathy can prevent the recognition of injuries to the feet and permit them to remain untreated for lengthy periods of time. Continued walking on the injured or infected foot results in further trauma and injury.
Sometimes neuropathy can be painful and quite distressing, especially at night when you are trying to sleep. Painful neuropathy usually causes burning or sharp shooting pains in the feet. It is even possible for some people to have painful neuropathy in combination with an actual loss of external sensation as described above.
Neuropathy can also cause muscle weakness in the legs and feet. This might give rise to such conditions as "foot drop", where the foot cannot be raised at the ankle when walking. Other common deformities associated with this might be hammertoes or bunions; these are often also associated with corns or calluses.