Q:

How do you watch a diabetic's feet for potential problems?

A:

Quick Answer

Keep an eye out for unusually dry skin, a lack of sensitivity to pain, unusual callus formation and ulcers when watching the feet for signs of diabetes. Diabetes leads to hardening and narrowing of blood vessels in the foot and leg, notes the American Diabetes Association.

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Full Answer

Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is one of the most dangerous causes of damage to the foot from diabetes. Neuropathy keeps the patient from feeling heat, cold or pain in the foot, which means it is possible to injure one's foot or walk on a stone or tack without realizing it until the skin degenerates with infection. Nerve damage can also alter the shape of toes and feet, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes also can wreak havoc on the skin of patients' feet. Calluses build up more quickly than they do in the general population because of the high-pressure areas beneath the feet. Calluses quickly thicken before breaking down and turning into open sores, or ulcers. Cutting calluses at home is not recommended, as infections and ulcers can result. The skin can also become quite dry, even to the point of cracking and peeling. The issue is that the nerves managing moisture and oil in the foot do not work anymore, as stated by the American Diabetes Association.

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