People with diabetes can be at risk of developing complications with their feet as a result of having high blood sugar levels. Hyperglycemia affects the innate healing capacity of the body and can predispose to the development of wounds or ulcers on the feet. Foot ulcers often become infected and this can lead to serious complications, especially when infection starts to spread to surrounding tissues. Sepsis or blood poisoning resulting from cellulitis, spreads rapidly and can be a life threatening condition, resulting in gangrene and loss of limb.
Diabetic neuropathy is also a common problem affecting the feet. This is a term used to describe loss of sensation in the extremities. Numbness in the feet can also predispose to injury, as it decreases the ability to detect pain signals, caused by rubbing and friction on the foot. This is one of the reasons people with diabetes need to have their feet checked by a podiatrist.