Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.
Various factors may contribute to type 1 diabetes, including genetics and exposure to certain viruses. Although type 1 diabetes typically appears during adolescence, it can develop at any age.
Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure, although it can be managed. With proper treatment, people who have type 1 diabetes can expect to live longer, healthier lives than in the past.
Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s main source of fuel.
With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. Untreated, type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening.
There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you can manage — or even prevent — the condition. Start by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to control your type 2 diabetes, you may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy to manage your blood sugar.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) represents several diseases in which high blood glucose levels over time can damage the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. Diabetes can also decrease the body’s ability to fight infection. When diabetes is not well controlled, damage to the organs and impairment of the immune system is likely. Foot problems commonly develop in people with diabetes and can quickly become serious.
- With damage to the nervous system, a person with diabetes may not be able to feel his or her feet properly. Normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is impaired. These factors together can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and can lead to breakdown of the skin of the foot. Sores may develop.
- Damage to blood vessels and impairment of the immune system from diabetes make it difficult to heal these wounds. Bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles, and bones can then occur. These infections can develop into gangrene. Because of the poor blood flow, antibiotics cannot get to the site of the infection easily. Often, the only treatment for this is amputation of the foot or leg. If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, this process can be life-threatening.People with diabetes must be fully aware of how to prevent foot problems before they occur, to recognize problems early, and to seek the right treatment when problems do occur. Although treatment for diabetic foot problems has improved, prevention – including good control of blood sugar level – remains the best way to prevent diabetic complications.
- People with diabetes should learn how to examine their own feet and how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of diabetic foot problems.
- They should also learn what is reasonable to manage routine at home foot care, how to recognize when to call the doctor, and how to recognize when a problem has become serious enough to seek emergency treatment.
Diabetes common symptoms/complaints
- Persistent pain can be a symptom of sprain, strain, bruise, overuse, improperly fitting shoes, or underlying infection.
- Redness can be a sign of infection, especially when surrounding a wound, or of abnormal rubbing of shoes or socks.
- Swelling of the feet or legs can be a sign of underlying inflammation or infection, improperly fitting shoes, or poor venous circulation. Other signs of poor circulation include the following:
- Pain in the legs or buttocks that increases with walking but improves with rest (claudication)
- Hair no longer growing on the lower legs and feet
- Hard shiny skin on the legs
- Localized warmth can be a sign of infection or inflammation, perhaps from wounds that won’t heal or that heal slowly.
- Any break in the skin is serious and can result from abnormal wear and tear, injury, or infection. Calluses and corns may be a sign of chronic trauma to the foot. Toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, and ingrown toenails may lead to more serious bacterial infections.
- Drainage of pus from a wound is usually a sign of infection. Persistent bloody drainage is also a sign of a potentially serious foot problem.
- A limp or difficulty walking can be a sign of joint problems, serious infection, or improperly fitting shoes.
- Fever or chills in association with a wound on the foot can be a sign of a limb-threatening or life-threatening infection.
- Red streaking away from a wound or redness spreading out from a wound is a sign of a progressively worsening infection.
- New or lasting numbness in the feet or legs can be a sign of nerve damage from diabetes, which increases a person risk for leg and foot problems.
How is Diabetes caused?
Several risk factors increase a person with diabetes chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet.
- Footwear: Poorly fitting shoes are a common cause of diabetic foot problems.
- If the patient has red spots, sore spots, blisters, corns, calluses, or consistent pain associated with wearing shoes, new properly fitting footwear must be obtained as soon as possible.
- If the patient has common foot abnormalities such as flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes, prescription shoes or shoe inserts may be necessary.
- Nerve damage: People with long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes are at risk for having damage to the nerves in their feet. The medical term for this is peripheral neuropathy.
- Because of the nerve damage, the patient may be unable to feel their feet normally. Also, they may be unable to sense the position of their feet and toes while walking and balancing. With normal nerves, a person can usually sense if their shoes are rubbing on the feet or if one part of the foot is becoming strained while walking.
- A person with diabetes may not properly sense minor injuries (such as cuts, scrapes, blisters), signs of abnormal wear and tear (that turn into calluses and corns), and foot strain. Normally, people can feel if there is a stone in their shoe, then remove it immediately. A person who has diabetes may not be able to perceive a stone. Its constant rubbing can easily create a sore.
- Poor circulation: Especially when poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to accelerated hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. When blood flow to injured tissues is poor, healing does not occur properly.
- Trauma to the foot: Any trauma to the foot can increase the risk for a more serious problem to develop.
- Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection of the skin or toenails, can lead to more serious bacterial infections and should be treated promptly.
- Ingrown toenails should be handled right away by a foot specialist. Toenail fungus should also be treated.
- Smoking: Smoking any form of tobacco causes damage to the small blood vessels in the feet and legs. This damage can disrupt the healing process and is a major risk factor for infections and amputations. The importance of smoking cessation cannot be overemphasized.
How is Diabetes treated?
A person with diabetes should do the following:
- Foot examination: Examine your feet daily and also after any trauma, no matter how minor, to your feet. Report any abnormalities to your physician. Use a water-based moisturizer every day (but not between your toes) to prevent dry skin and cracking. Wear cotton or wool socks. Avoid elastic socks and hosiery because they may impair circulation.
- Eliminate obstacles: Move or remove any items you are likely to trip over or bump your feet on. Keep clutter on the floor picked up. Light the pathways used at night – indoors and outdoors.
- Toenail trimming: Always cut your nails with a safety clipper, never a pair of scissors. Cut them straight across and leave plenty of room out from the nailbed or quick. If you have difficulty with your vision or using your hands, let your doctor do it for you or train a family member how to do it safely.
- Footwear: Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes whenever feasible to protect your feet. To be sure your shoes fit properly, see a podiatrist (foot doctor) for fitting recommendations or shop at shoe stores specializing in fitting people with diabetes. Your endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) can provide you with a referral to a podiatrist or orthopedist who may also be an excellent resource for finding local shoe stores. If you have flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes, you may need prescription shoes or shoe inserts.
- Exercise: Regular exercise will improve bone and joint health in your feet and legs, improve circulation to your legs, and will also help to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.
- Smoking: If you smoke any form of tobacco, quitting can be one of the best things you can do to prevent problems with your feet. Smoking accelerates damage to blood vessels, especially small blood vessels leading to poor circulation, which is a major risk factor for foot infections and ultimately amputations.
- Diabetes control: Following a reasonable diet, taking your medications, checking your blood sugar regularly, exercising regularly, and maintaining good communication with your physician are essential in keeping your diabetes under control. Consistent long-term blood sugar control to near normal levels can greatly lower the risk of damage to your nerves, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
Best Shoes for Diabetes
We carry a wide variety of shoes and sandals for diabetes. Many of the supportive shoes we carry have great support which limits pronation. Additionally, it is very important that shoes for diabetes have comfort linings and wide widths. Any diabetic shoe should be specially fit by a trained pedorthist. Additionally, we carry shoes with cushioned soles that reduce the impact on your feet which reduces the risks associated with the diabetic foot. Often times, the best shoes for diabetes have a mild rocker sole to help distribute pressure evenly across the foot.
Best Arch Supports for Diabetes
We have a wide variety of arch supports for diabetes. The best arch support for diabetes will have good shock absorption, control pronation, and evenly distribute pressure across the foot. We have over the counter arch supports and custom molded orthotics which helps reduce the pain associated with diabetes. Make an appointment today with a specialist to find out which diabetes arch support is best for you!
Where to shoes for diabetes and arch supports
At Lucky Feet Shoes, we carry a wide variety of shoes for diabetes and online and in Southern California. We fit customers with shoes for diabetes and arch supports in Orange County, Inland Empire, Riverside, Temecula and Los Angeles County. Our stores in Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Dimas, Anaheim Hills, Temecula, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Costa Mesa, and Long Beach. We invite you to stop by for a free foot analysis and try our shoes for diabetes. In addition, we have a large selection of comfort shoes, wide shoes, walking shoes, running shoes, arch supports, and custom orthotics!