Diabetic. Symptoms. Manage.

Your Foot Can Uncover Your Diabetic State

Article by Ken Chang

From statistical report in 2013, the prevalence of diabetes in Malaysia is 22.9% and foot complications contribute to 12% of all hospital admissions in Malaysia, often resulting in amputation when admitted to hospitals.

The soles of our feet or the whole in general are often overlooked but can be the tell tale sign of the diabetic state for diabetes sufferers. A diabetic person often develop signs and symptoms related to the feet. Here are a few foot problem that we should look out for.

Dry skin

For diabetes sufferers, complications of the skin are very common. About one third of diabetic person may suffer from one or more skin complications ranging from dry skin, cracked skin, constant itching, fungal and bacteria infection. Hence, it is important for diabetes sufferers to properly moisturize their feet to maintain the skin barrier integrity with lotions and creams to minimize infections from cracked skin. The easiest way to do this is to have a tube of cream by the night stand and apply a generous amount onto the dry skin area during bedtime.

Peripheral arterial disease

A diabetic person is prone to lipid disorders as well. Plaque build up may block and narrow the arteries at the extremities, especially our lower limbs. When this happened, there may be a peripheral arterial disease, which may consequent in lesser blood flow to the feet. Due to the poor circulation, other complications may occur, as well as being at higher risk for a cardiovascular event such as heart attack or a stroke.

Diabetic foot ulcer

With poor circulation, when a diabetic person gets a deep tissue wound on the lower limbs such as the feet, he may develop diabetic foot ulcer. The ulceration is an open sore at the soles of the foot that does not heal very well and is especially prone to infections resulting in a very serious blood infection known as sepsis which is life threatening. Hence, proper wound care is vital if one has an open sore on his feet.

Diabetic neuropathy

As high blood glucose level may cause nerve ending damage as well, diabetic neuropathy may happen in poorly control diabetic person. When one has the condition, they would feel a burning sensation, pins and needles at the soles of their feet. Couple that with the poor circulation, the diabetic person may have lose any real sensation to their feet, making it especially easy to get hurt and develop diabetic foot ulcer. The combination of vitamin B1, B6, B12 may help to reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

To sum it all up, our feet may tell us how well controlled the blood glucose control is. If that is the case, it is vital to get a review from the doctor and take proper care of the feet as well.


1. Wan Nazaimoon, W. M., Md Isa, S. H., Wan Mohamad, W. B., Khir, A. S., Kamaruddin,

N. A., Kamarul, I. M., et al. (2013). Prevalence of diabetes in Malaysia and usefulness

of HbA1c as a diagnostic criterion. Diabetic Medicine, 30(7), 825-828.

2. Khalid BAK (1998) Status of Diabetics in Malaysia. In World book of Diabetes in Practice;

Elsevier Science Publishers (3) 341-342.

3. Florida Podiatric Medical Association. Diabetes and Your Feet. http://www.fpma.com/diabetes_and_your_feet.php (accessed 24 Mar 2018).


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