Why Diabetics Need to Pay Extra Attention to Their Foot Care

When you’re in good general health and get a splinter in your foot, it’s not usually a cause for serious concern. For diabetics, an injury as simple as a small cut can cause complications that impact the rest of your life.

At Alpine Foot & Ankle in Sandy and Highland, Utah, Dr. Scott Shelton, DPM, specializes in diabetic foot care services to minimize your risk of lasting complications that diabetes can cause. Dr. Shelton is a double board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon. He can also address existing ulcers and other painful issues that can limit your mobility.

What to know about diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body processes sugar from your diet. Typically, your pancreas creates insulin hormones to convert sugar into the energy you need to function. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, this process works differently.

The primary types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to mistakenly attack your pancreas and other organs, preventing insulin production.

This attack allows sugar levels in your blood to increase, which can potentially lead to permanent nerve damage throughout your body, especially in your legs and feet.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can often develop because of unhealthy lifestyle habits. If you don’t exercise, lack good nutrition in your diet, or have a high body mass index (BMI), your body may not produce enough insulin to regulate sugar levels or use the insulin it makes properly.

How diabetes can damage your feet

High blood sugar levels that remain too high for too long can damage the structure of your blood vessels and lead to poor circulation and other cardiovascular complications.

Uncontrolled sugar levels can also cause nerve damage, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Symptoms of nerve damage include:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles sensations

The sensations and numbness can make it difficult to know when you injure yourself. When it comes to feet with nerve damage, you may not notice small cuts immediately. Ignoring these minor injuries can quickly lead to infection.

Untreated foot infections can progress into open wounds and ulcers. Due to the damage in your blood vessels that diabetes can cause, these wounds may be very slow to heal, resulting in permanent tissue damage and tissue death.

Once tissue starts dying, you may need surgery to remove it. Many with uncontrolled diabetes are also at increased risk of amputation, a surgery to remove diseased toes, feet, and legs.

How to stay active about foot care when you have diabetes

One of the best things you can do for your feet when you have diabetes is to schedule routine foot checks at Alpine Foot & Ankle. Dr. Shelton thoroughly examines your feet at each visit to check for cuts, signs of infection, or other damage that can worsen over time.

Dr. Shelton can also recommend lifestyle and diet changes to optimize foot health. These changes may include:

  • Doing daily foot checks
  • Wearing compression socks
  • Opting for spacious, comfortable shoes
  • Trimming nails straight across and filing down sharp edges

You should also work with your primary care physician to get your diabetes under control and manage it properly in the long term.

Call Alpine Foot & Ankle in Sandy or Highland, Utah, to schedule a diabetic foot care consultation or book an appointment online today.


If you do not see your insurance provider, contact our office.



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