Feet first spies of diabetes: the signals on the fingers that warn of high blood sugar levels

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Infections, foot ulcers, bone pain, pins and needles: the symptoms of type 2 diabetes can also occur in damage to the feet.

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High blood sugar levels can cause various problems, which usually start right at the feet which can be real indicators of type 2 diabetes.





All too often, type two diabetes is noticed when high blood sugar levels start wreaking havoc in the body. Many of the associated destructive effects result from nerve damage that most often manifests itself in a change in the shape (and not only) of the toes.

This type of diabetes, in fact, is the result of a dysfunction in the way the body processes insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas responsible for regulating the level of sugar in the blood. In fact, if not regulated, high blood sugar levels cause an avalanche of problems in the body, starting with the nerves. Some of the most acute warning signs due to the so-called diabetic neuropathy, manifest themselves on the feet and in particular on the fingers.

Indeed, it is precisely from the feet that one usually gets the alarm bell of too high blood sugar levels. Indeed, the damage to peripheral nerves it is the most common type of nerve damage for people with diabetes. (Also Read: From Cracked Heel to Swelling, What Do Your Feet Say About Your Health?)

In these cases we speak of neuropathy diabetic, which includes all the complications related to diabetes mellitus affecting the peripheral nerves and which occur mainly in the affected nerves, usually in the lower limbs starting with the feet.

Diabetic neuropathy symptoms start from the feet

La diabetic neuropathy it can present itself in various diffuse symmetrical forms and asymmetrical focal or multifocal forms.

They are above all the first to be characterized by predominantly or exclusively sensory disorders in the lower limbs, starting right from the toes, and may be initially limited to the fibers of thermo-pain sensitivity with symptoms as:



  • claw fingers
  • stinging sensation
  • burning and pain in the feet
  • loss of sensation for pain and temperature

You can then add some alterations in sensitivity with:

  • tingling and a slight loss of balance
  • initial motor difficulties in the feet
  • the lost god of achilles

In addition, there can be conditions in which multiple symptoms occur at the same time and conditions in which painful neuropathy of strict glycemic control (otherwise called diabetes treatment-induced neuropathy, TIND) also occurs, which can appear in patients in whom diabetic decompensation is drastically corrected quickly.

In the long run, a diabetic foot could also lead to:

  • ulcer
  • bleeding sores
  • infections that could also reach the neighboring tissues and gangrene

Read also: Blisters on the feet: causes, natural remedies, how to prevent and how to intervene

What to do if foot symptoms appear?

Necessarily and without wasting time go to check on a diabetology or chiropodist and follow all the instructions to implement an effective prevention program capable of minimizing the risk of foot injuries, such as calluses or infections. 

When to go to the specialist? As soon as abnormal signs are observed in the feet:

  • calluses, ulcers, scratches
  • pain or tingling in the legs
  • itchy feet
  • pins and needles
  • presence of red patches on the skin of the legs and / or feet
  • difficulty walking
  • noticeable deformation of the feet and in particular the so-called claw toe
  • redness, inflammation and swelling of a toenail

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