About 15% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer due to damaged nerves (neuropathy) or poor blood circulation in the lower legs.
Loss of sensation
Because you have less sensation in your feet due to neuropathy, you are less likely to feel an injury or infection. For example, you may walk on hot sand and burn the soles of your feet, or tread on a nail and not feel it. It is imperative that you check your feet at least twice daily, because if you don’t notice an injury, it will get worse.
Poor circulation means that injured skin heals more slowly and is prone to infection. If your foot is pale and cool you may have compromised blood circulation. Remember to always seek professional help if you have diabetes and foot problems.
Because of the poor blood supply, any foot wound is likely to become infected. You need to keep the wound clean to avoid infection and minimise pain.
Signs of infection include:
- An increase or a change in pain
- Increased redness
- An increase in the amount and colour of exudate (fluid) from the wound
- Odour from the wound
- A high temperature
However, the early signs of infection such as redness, swelling, and pain are not always present, so you need to check your feet regularly.