Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes effects many parts of the body. One part of the body that often is affected are the feet. Losing feeling and experiencing numbness in the feet can occur over time. This is sometimes the result of  diabetic neuropathy which can occur because of high blood sugar injuring nerve fibers in the feet.

One  type of diabetic neuropathy is called peripheral neuropathy. This is the most common type and most often affects the feet and legs. Some of the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are often experienced and are worse in the evenings. According to information from the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include:

• Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes.

“The CDC says the occurrence of diabetes related foot and lower-leg amputation has decreased by 65 percent since 1996.”Dr. Frank Spinosa, President, American Podiatric Medical Association

• Increased sensitivity to touch — for some people, even the weight of a bed sheet can be agonizing.

• Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain.

Pro-actively taking steps to monitor key health indicators, experts agree that it’s possible to prevent some of the most severe risks of diabetes, including lower limb amputation.

People ages 20 and older who are living with diabetes account for about 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.

A foot mirror canbe very helpful.  See this related post.


People with diabetes may be less aware of cuts or wounds on their feet due to the nerve damage related to their disease, Spinosa points out. “Regular and vigilant foot care can help catch problems before they develop into a health crisis.”

Inspect your feet daily, checking the entire foot and all 10 toes for cuts, bruises, sores or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.  Treat wounds immediately and see your podiatrist if a problem persists or infection is apparent.


Exercise by walking, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes appropriate for the type of exercise you’re doing.

When you buy new shoes, have them properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape can change throughout time, and ill-fitting shoes are a leading cause of foot pain and lesions. Certain types of shoes, socks and custom orthotics are available for people with diabetes, and they may be covered under Medicare. You can find a list of podiatrist-approved footwear and products for people with diabetes on the APMA website.

Keep your feet covered and never go barefoot even at home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great.

See a podiatrist to remove calluses, corns or warts – don’t tackle them yourself and don’t ask a unlicensed nonprofessional to do it. Over-the-counter products can burn your skin and injure your foot. Podiatrists are specially trained to address all aspects of foot health for people with diabetes.

Get checkups twice a year. An exam by your podiatrist is the best way to ensure your feet stay healthy.

“For people with diabetes, taking charge of your own foot health can help you avoid foot-related complications like amputation,” Spinosa said. “Work with today’s podiatrist to help you safeguard your foot health.”

To learn more about foot care for people with diabetes or to find a podiatrist, visit http://www.apma.org.

Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage, and Reclaim Good Health

What Grain Brain did for wheat, this book by a leading peripheral nerve surgeon now does for sugar, revealing how it causes crippling nerve damage throughout the body—in our feet, organs, and brain—why sugar and carbohydrates are harmful to the body’s nerves, and how eliminating them can mitigate and even reverse the damage.

Sugar Crush exposes the shocking truth about how a diet high in sugar, processed carbohydrates, and wheat compresses and damages the peripheral nerves of the body, leading to pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet, along with a host of related conditions, including migraines, gall bladder disease, and diabetes. If you suffer from ailments your doctors can’t seem to diagnose or help—mysterious rashes, unpredictable digestive problems, debilitating headaches, mood and energy swings, constant tiredness—nerve compression is the likely cause.

Over the years, Dr. Richard Jacoby has treated thousands of patients with peripheral neuropathy. Now, he shares his insights as well as the story of how he connected the dots to determine how sugar is the common denominator of many chronic diseases. In Sugar Crush, he offers a unique holistic approach to understanding the exacting toll sugar and carbs take on the body. Based on his clinical work, he breaks down his highly effective methods, showing how dietary changes reducing sugar and wheat, coinciding with an increase of good fats, can dramatically help regenerate nerves and rehabilitate their normal function.

Sugar Crush includes a quiz to assess your nerve damage, practical dietary advice, and the latest thinking on ways to prevent and reverse neuropathy. If you have diabetes, this essential guide will help you understand the dangers and give you the tools you need to make a difference beyond your doctor’s prescriptions. If you have the metabolic syndrome or prediabetes, or are just concerned about your health, it will help you reverse and prevent nerve damage.

Seduced by Sugar Substitutes; Beware

Like many others newly diagnosed as diabetic or prediabetic I tried to find ways to avoid sugar.  I started drinking Coke Zero,  Alarmingly I noted that my neuropathy symptoms were getting worse and immediately after consuming a diet soda I felt my symptoms get worse.  I looked online to see what sweetner was used and found that Coke Zero and Diet Coke both contain Aspartame and I found that this artificial sweetner often causes issues for neuropathy sufferers.

Overall my blood sugar numbers are good but despite that the tingling sensations in my feet and now my hands continue.  So goodbye Coke Zero it’s been nice to know you but you gotta go.  I also mistakenly grabbed Splenda instead of Stevia at the store and was using it  in my morning coffee and Splenda does not have a good track record either.

coke zero photo
Photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

Researchers found that intake of aspartame significantly steepened the association between Body Mass Index (BMI) and glucose tolerance. Being obese can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, which develops when blood sugar levels are too high.

Additionally, the extremely popular artificial sweetener, aspartame, is made up of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and menthol. The first two chemicals mentioned are amino acids, which are known to set off the hormones, insulin and leptin. These hormones are not only connected with storing fat and feeling full, they’re also involved with managing your metabolism.

When our insulin and leptin levels get out of whack, we’re at a much greater risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, published a book revealing just how bad aspartic acid (which makes up 40% of aspartame) can be when consumed in large amounts.

Blaylock had close to 500 scientific references backing up his findings that show aspartic acid is “causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.”

Fake sugars tend to mess around with bacteria in the gut. Since our bodies don’t digest artificial sweeteners, it makes a beeline for the intestines and bothers the gazillions of bacteria that call our gut their home.

One study found Splenda (aka sucralose) shrank the bacteria population by 49.8% in only 12 weeks!

According to Dr. David Perlmutter, “these changes in the gut bacteria relate to metabolic changes that pave the way for diabetes.”

Nature published an article discussing a study on people who normally didn’t consume artificial sweeteners. Scientists examined how artificial sweeteners affected the gut bacteria among other things. They found the participants bacteria had been altered to a level already known to up your chances of developing metabolic syndrome.

A Time Magazine article mentioned the same study, revealing that after only four days of the seven day study, over “half of the people showed higher blood glucose levels.”

And when your blood glucose levels are consistently high, that’s not good.

The Americian Diabetes Association actually encourages diabetics to use artificial sweeteners. They state, “Foods and drinks that use artificial sweeteners are another option that may help curb your cravings for something sweet.”

One of the many reasons that I don’t pay a lot of attention to the American Diabetes Association or their recommendations.

But the many studies conducted over the last couple decades have found that diabetics should in fact break ties with artificial sweeteners.

The site, Diabetes Meal Plans says, “instead of [aspartame] being ‘safe’ for blood sugar, in many cases blood glucose levels increase when you consume artificial sweeteners.”

Also, a diabetics specialist researching aspartame found that it caused “poorer diabetic control in diabetics on insulin or oral drugs,” as well as provoking “diabetic complications such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis.”

You see, aspartame is notorious for lowering the serotonin in our brains. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter impacting many body functions such as appetite, sleep, learning, and wait for it…our mood! So if your serotonin levels start heading for the toity, it makes sense that your frame of mind would take a dip as well.

Often We battle depression by eating more.

In conclusion, Stevia seems to be the safest alternative to sugar I’ve found and the use of artificial sweetners seems to cause more problems for diabetics maybe even than using sugar itself so read labels and pay attention to how your body reacts to what you eat and drink.  I am hoping that these actions will help my health and possibly yours.

Comment on this post. I woud love to know your experiences and how you deal with diabetes.  Also if you could Like @suddenly diabetic on Facebook We might educate more people on this dangerous often undiagnosed disease.

Here is a recent thread on Facebook which paralleled my experience:

Diabetic Neuropathy Explained

Peripheral and Diabetic Neuropathy can be exceptionally deabilitating.  This video offers a clear explanation of the disease and some possible solutions to make it tolerable.