Q: What is diabetic neuropathy?
A: Diabetic neuropathy is the impairment or damage of nerve function due to increased blood sugars.
Q: How will I know if I have neuropathy?
A: Signs of neuropathy include: muscle weakness in the legs, pain in the feet and legs, tingling, burning, or numbness in the feet and hands, and overall decreased pain sensations and loss of feeling.
Q: Why should I be worried?
A:Chiefly, because symptoms of neuropathy mask pain. Without pain you many not notice a cut or even a bone fracture, which may lead to serious infection, ulcerations, or foot deformities. The most serious complications result in disability and limb loss.
Q: How will my podiatrist diagnose neuropathy in a person with diabetes?
A: When you call complaining of any of these symptoms, our expert doctors will want to see you immediately to begin the diagnostic process. This will lead to a Simmes-Weinstein monofilament test, which will check pressure and protective sensation. A tuning fork will test for loss of vibrational sensation and your temperature sensation will also be tested.
Q: What can I do to prevent diabetic neuropathy?
A: The only way to prevent this condition is to properly manage and control your blood sugar levels.
Q: How can I help control my blood sugar?
A: Exercise and proper diet will help control blood sugar. If you need help getting your feet in proper shape to exercise, we can help with that too.
Q: How can I care for my feet if I have diabetic neuropathy?
A: Check your feet daily. Look at the top and bottom of your feet, heels, and between toes. It may help to use a mirror or ask someone to check for you. Call your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your feet. Always wear proper shoes and footwear, and make sure to practice proper foot care.
Q: When I inspect my feet, what should I look for?
A: Feel for changes in skin temperature (cold could mean circulation is being cut off and hot could mean infections or injury). Look for breaks in the skin that could lead to infection, and color changes (blue may mean injury or poor blood supply and red may mean infection or inflammation).
Q: What kind of shoes should I buy?
A: Buy shoes that are wide enough and deep enough to accommodate your feet and any inserts. Try on shoes in the late afternoon when feet are at their fullest.
Q: How often should I see my podiatrist?
A: You should see your podiatrist at least once a year if you have not had any previous problems such as ulcers. If you have had previous problems, see your podiatrist every three to six months. If you don’t have a podiatrist, give us a call today or check out our resources for new patients.
A True/False Quiz on Diabetes and Neuropathy
Many people have some dangerous preconceived notions about both diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. We’ve put together this brief self-check that you can do to see if you know as much as you should about these two conditions.
Q: Diabetes is curable.
A: FALSE. Diabetes is not curable, however it is treatable and sometimes preventable.
Q:If your feet feel numb or asleep, don’t worry this is normal.
A: FALSE. If your feet feel numb or asleep you should see a podiatrist right away if the feeling doesn’t go away within ten minutes.
Q:Diabetes is associated with neuropathy, an absence of sensation or numbness.
TRUE. Numbness, tingling, burning and loss of sensation in the feet are associated with diabetic neuropathy, a common symptom of diabetes.
Q:Diabetic neuropathy only occurs late in the disease.
FALSE. Neuropathy can occur early or late in the disease.
Q: When a person has diabetic neuropathy, it is important to visually inspect the feet daily.
TRUE. Neuropathy can diminish sensation in the feet, making a person with diabetic neuropathy unaware of open sores, infections, or blisters. Visually inspecting the feet every day is the only to become aware of these problems that may need medical attention.
Q:Going barefoot is good practice for a person with diabetic neuropathy because there is no pressure from shoes on the feet.
FALSE. A person with diabetic neuropathy should always wear proper, well-fitted socks and shoes in order to prevent injury and protect the feet.
Q:It is okay for people with diabetic neuropathy to use metal instruments such as razors to cut corns and calluses and to use over-the-counter products.
FALSE. A person with diabetic neuropathy may not notice cutting themselves while trimming nails, corns or calluses. To prevent serious infection, you should come see us because a podiatrist should cut nails, corns, and calluses.
Q: People with diabetes should not use hot water bottles, heating pads or electric blankets if their feet are cold.
TRUE. A person with diabetes may have lost feeling in the feet and may not feel how hot something is. Using hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets and taking hot baths could result in serious burns.
Q: Diabetes is the only cause of neuropathy.
FALSE. There are many other causes of neuropathy including vitamin B12 deficiency, nerve damage from lower back problems, nerve damage following a stroke, numbness following chemotherapy, and nerve damage from chronic alcoholism.
Q: All individuals with diabetes should receive a thorough foot examination at least once a year to identify high-risk foot conditions.
TRUE. People with diabetes should see their podiatrist at least once a year. Individuals that have already experienced high-risk conditions should see their podiatrist 2-3 times a year
Why Choose us to Treat Your Diabetic Neuropathy?
At the Superior Foot and Ankle Center, we have years of experience every kind of foot and ankle-related health issue you can imagine. Whether you have diabetic neuropathy, or just need a regular check-up, we know you’ll be satisfied with the expert care you receive here. Contact us today for more information.