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Symptomless Foot Most Likely to be Problematic: Diabetic Feet

Source: Wayne Clark, Diabetes Self Management

Reprinted by permission from PM News. PM News is available free by writing to

Peripheral neuropathy, which affects the feet, legs, and, less commonly, the hands, is dangerous because its symptoms can be so subtle. In fact, the "symptomless" foot is most likely to have a problem. "Pain is what takes most people to the doctor's office," says John B. Perry, D.P.M., a podiatrist in Portland, ME, who specializes in diabetic foot care. "If it doesn't hurt, you don't come in.

The problem is, people with diabetes don't have the same sensations in their feet. You have to check and have them checked when they don't hurt. "I tell people with neuropathy that the nerves in their feet aren't sending information anymore," he says, "and that they have to use their brain and their eyes and their fingers to save their feet."

The damage and the danger from diabetic peripheral neuropathy comes from two basic problems: loss of nerve function and loss of blood supply. Both are caused by the primary dysfunction of diabetes: too much glucose in the blood.

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