What do these changes mean?
Damage to the nerves and blood supply to your feet makes it more likely that you will develop foot problems. This is because nerve damage and poor circulation can change the shape of your feet, the sensations you are able to feel and the condition of your skin. To find out if you could be at risk of developing foot problems ask yourself these questions:
Can I feel the things I used to?
Nerve damage means that you may not notice if you step on something sharp, develop a blister or cut yourself, because you may not feel any pain. If you can’t feel heat or cold you could burn yourself without knowing or let your feet become very cold.
Am I walking in a different way?
You might walk in a different way than you normally would because of changes to the nerves that send messages to the muscles in your feet. These changes can increase the pressure on different areas of your feet which can lead to the development of hard skin.
Is my skin drier than usual?
You could develop very dry skin because you’re not sweating as much as usual. Very dry skin can become cracked, which makes an infection more likely.
Have my feet changed shape?
You might develop different shaped feet. If the arch of your foot drops or your toes curl under you will start to put pressure on different parts of your foot. This pressure can cause a build up of hard skin.
Am I healing as well as usual?
A poor blood supply to your feet means that any injuries won’t heal as quickly as you would expect them to. This means that any wounds like cuts and blisters can become infected.
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, talk to your podiatrist, nurse or doctor for information and advice.