What Are the Medical Reasons Why Diabetes Causes Toe Pain?

Diabetes generally causes toe pain as a result of peripheral neuropathy, according to Mayo Clinic. The most common form of diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy typically impacts the legs and feet first with symptoms including a burning, tingling sensation and an increased sensitivity to touch. Additional symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include loss of coordination, balance and reflexes; muscle weakness; numbness; and serious foot problems, like infections and ulcers.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is caused by nerve damage, which results from low levels of insulin or high glucose levels, notes Healthline. The symptoms are often worst at night, but home remedies, including soaking in a warm bath, going for short walks frequently, and increasing blood flow by riding a stationary bicycle may help alleviate pain.

The skin of a diabetic person's foot can change, peeling and cracking as a result of extreme dryness, indicates the American Diabetes Association. Since the nerves controlling the foot's moisture and oil no longer function, individuals can alleviate pain and discomfort by applying plain petroleum jelly, or similar unscented product, after bathing. As a result of the additional moisture, infection can develop if cream or oil is rubbed between toes.

In addition to causing pain, nerve damage caused by diabetes can also decrease a person's sensitivity to pain, advises the American Diabetes Association. When that happens, an individual may experience a toe injury without feeling it. Toes and feet can also change shape as a result of nerve damage.