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What Does A Diabetic Foot Look Like

Diabetic Foot Pain Relief In North Dakota

Diabetic Foot Ulcer 101

If you have diabetic foot pain, ankle pain, arthritis, or a musculoskeletal injury, our orthopedic doctors are ready to help you. From traditional treatments to complex surgeries, our team of surgeons and medical staff have the skills and experience to bring you relief from your diabetic foot symptoms.

The Bone & Joint Center has convenient offices located across North Dakota. If you have any questions or would like to request an appointment, contact our friendly team today by calling us at 424-2663 or by filling out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you maintain healthy feet and overall wellness.

What Can I Do To Keep My Feet Healthy

Work with your health care team to make a diabetes self-care plan, which is an action plan for how you will manage your diabetes. Your plan should include foot care. A foot doctor, also called a podiatrist, and other specialists may be part of your health care team.

Include these steps in your foot care plan:

Outbreak Of Small Reddish

When these bumps appear, they often look like pimples. Unlike pimples, they soon develop a yellowish color. Youll usually find these bumps on the buttocks, thighs, crooks of the elbows, or backs of the knees. They can form anywhere though.


These bumps appear suddenly and clear promptly when diabetes is well-controlled.

When these bumps appear, they often look like pimples. Unlike pimples, they soon develop a yellowish color. Youll usually find these bumps on the buttocks, thighs, crooks of the elbows, or backs of the knees. They can form anywhere though. No matter where they form, they are usually tender and itchy. The medical name for this skin condition is eruptive xanthomatosis.

Take action
  • Tell your doctor about the bumps because this skin condition appears when you have uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes.

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Smooth Corns And Calluses Gently

Thick patches of skin called corns or calluses can grow on the feet. If you have corns or calluses, talk with your foot doctor about the best way to care for these foot problems. If you have nerve damage, these patches can become ulcers.

If your doctor tells you to, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses after bathing or showering. A pumice stone is a type of rock used to smooth the skin. Rub gently, only in one direction, to avoid tearing the skin.


  • use corn plasters, which are medicated pads
  • use liquid corn and callus removers

Cutting and over-the counter corn removal products can damage your skin and cause an infection.

To keep your skin smooth and soft, rub a thin coat of lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not put lotion or cream between your toes because moistness might cause an infection.

How Does Diabetes Cause Foot Problems

What Is A Diabetic Foot: Symptoms And Treatment

Foot problems are common in people with diabetes. They can happen over time when high blood sugar damages the nerves and blood vessels in the feet. The nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy, can cause numbness, tingling, pain, or a loss of feeling in your feet.

If you can’t feel pain, you may not know when you have a cut, blister, or ulcer on your foot. A wound like that could get infected. The infection may not heal well because the damaged blood vessels can cause poor blood flow in your feet.

Having an infection and poor blood flow can lead to gangrene. That means the muscle, skin, and other tissues start to die. If you have gangrene or a foot ulcer that does not get better with treatment, you may need an amputation. This is a surgery to cut off your damaged toe, foot, or part of your leg. It may prevent a bad infection from spreading and could save your life.

But there’s a lot you can do to prevent a foot wound from becoming a major health problem.

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When To See A Doctor

People who have diabetes should see a doctor regularly as part of their care.

However, anyone who notices any of the following changes should seek immediate medical attention:

  • changes in skin color on the foot
  • swelling in the foot or ankle
  • temperature changes in the feet
  • persistent sores on the feet
  • pain or tingling in the feet or ankles
  • ingrowing toenails

Treatment for diabetic foot problems varies according to the severity of the condition. A range of surgical and nonsurgical options is available.

When Should I Seek Medical Care For Diabetic Foot Pain

If you have diabetes, tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience:

  • Any changes in foot shape.
  • Any changes to the skin on the feet, including a wound, redness or darkness, warmth or a funny smell.
  • Hair loss on your toes, feet or legs.
  • Loss of feeling in the toes, feet or legs.
  • Pain, tingling, burning or cramping in the feet or legs.
  • Thick, yellow toenails.

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Yellow Reddish Or Brown Patches On Your Skin

Necrobiosis Lipoidica

This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples. As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin. The patches can be yellow, reddish, or brown.

You may also notice:

  • The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
  • You can see blood vessels
  • The skin is itchy and painful
  • The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again

necrobiosis lipodica.

Take action
  • Get tested for diabetes, if you have not been diagnosed.
  • Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.
  • See a dermatologist about your skin. Necorbiosis lipodica is harmless, but it can lead to complications.

Yellowish Scaly Patches On And Around Your Eyelids

What do Diabetic Toenails Look Like? Russian and Trimming Toenails on Patient in Podiatry office

These develop when you have high fat levels in your blood. It can also be a sign that your diabetes is poorly controlled.The medical name for this condition is xanthelasma.

Take action
  • Tell your doctor about the yellowish scaly patches around your eyes.
  • Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes. Controlling diabetes can clear the scaly patches.

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How Is A Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treated

Care for diabetic foot pain may involve a doctor who specializes in the feet, called a podiatrist. Treatment may include:

  • Cleaning the wound.
  • Draining any fluid or pus from the ulcer.
  • Removing or cutting away dead or infected tissue .
  • Applying special bandages and ointments to absorb extra fluid, protect the wound and help it heal.
  • Prescribing a wheelchair or crutches to take weight off the affected foot .
  • Prescribing oral or IV antibiotics to control and eliminate infection.

Depending on how severe the infection is, your healthcare provider may recommend hospitalization. Sometimes amputation is necessary to prevent infection from spreading to other parts of the body.

What Can I Do To Manage Diabetes

Unfortunately, once you have diabetes-related foot pain, it cant be cured. Doctors can only try to prevent it from getting worse. Here are 5 things you can do at home to help manage your diabetes-related foot pain and prevent complications:

1) Check your feet.

Check the bottoms of your feet every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed. Look for cuts and wounds and anything else unusual. These may be signs that your feet are becoming less sensitive and that something is going on with the blood vessels and nerves in your feet.

2) Wear shoes around the house.

When you have diabetes-related foot pain, you cant always feel when you step on things. Wearing shoes helps to prevent cuts and injuries.

3) Follow up with your doctor.

Its important to attend your regular doctors appointments. Not only will your doctor be able to perform foot exams, but they can catch problems earlier on so you dont end up with serious complications.

4) Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Just because diabetes-related foot pain isnt reversible doesnt mean it cant be improved. Lowering high blood sugar by watching what you eat and exercising regularly can improve some symptoms of nerve pain. Both habits can help improve your blood flow as well, which will lower your risk for complications. Just remember to consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise plan.

5) Stop smoking.

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What To Do If You Notice A Problem

If you see something wrong, its really important to:

  • take the weight off your foot
  • contact your GP or foot protection team immediately
  • go to your nearest out-of-hours healthcare service if your GP or foot protection team arent available.

Its really important to try and sort it out before it gets any worse – no matter how small the change. A serious foot problem for some people can lead to amputation very quickly.

You may be looked after by many different healthcare professionals, who will tell you what to do next. The important thing to remember is to keep your weight off your foot.

Protect Your Feet From Hot And Cold

9 Tips for Preventing Diabetic Foot Ulcers

If you have nerve damage from diabetes, you may burn your feet and not know you did. Take the following steps to protect your feet from heat:

  • Wear shoes at the beach and on hot pavement.
  • Put sunscreen on the tops of your feet to prevent sunburn.
  • Keep your feet away from heaters and open fires.
  • Do not put a hot water bottle or heating pad on your feet.

Wear socks in bed if your feet get cold. In the winter, wear lined, waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry.

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Trim Your Toenails Straight Across

Trim your toenails, when needed, after you wash and dry your feet. Using toenail clippers, trim your toenails straight across. Do not cut into the corners of your toenail. Gently smooth each nail with an emery board or nonsharp nail file. Trimming this way helps prevent cutting your skin and keeps the nails from growing into your skin.

Have a foot doctor trim your toenails if

  • you cannot see, feel, or reach your feet
  • your toenails are thick or yellowed
  • your nails curve and grow into the skin

If you want to get a pedicure at a salon, you should bring your own nail tools to prevent getting an infection. You can ask your health care provider what other steps you can take at the salon to prevent infection.

Treatment Of The Foot Ulcer Depends On The Severity Of The Wound


  • The wound is usually cleaned with saline wash and covered with a protective dressing.
  • Until the wound heals, rest the affected foot and do not put pressure on it by walking.
  • Walking on the ulcer can worsen it by making it larger and force infection deeper into your foot.

Not infected

  • Your doctor may prescribe a waterproof dressing that can be applied and left in place for up to 1 week.

Mild infection

  • Your doctor may prescribe a non-sticky dressing that can be applied every 12 days.

Moderate infection

  • Your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics.
  • Take your antibiotics as they have been prescribed and complete the course.

Severe infection

  • You will be admitted to hospital.

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What Does A Diabetic Foot Look Like

A healthy diabetic foot should look like any other foot! A diabetes diagnosis doesnt automatically come with a pair of disfigured feet. However, it can be a challenge to keep the healthy feet you were born with. Diabetics are at a higher risk for many common foot problems than the general population, and are therefore often warned to be vigilant and keep an eye on their feet. Education in this area is evidently lacking, however, because many diabetics report not being given much direction about what to look for. They may understand that foot complications are a risk, but fail to grasp the severity of the risk or commonness of the ailments, and therefore turn their attention to more pressing tasks.

This lack of knowledge and complacency can be the biggest hazard when it comes to diabetic foot care. Taking an active role is absolutely essential to foot health and overall health when it comes to diabetes. Diabetics looking to take better care of their feet should start by keeping them clean and checking them at least once a day for anything out of the ordinary. Read on to discover what potential warning signs to look for and how to lower your risk for developing serious diabetic foot issues.

You should talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following issues, or anything else that looks unusual to you. Dont be afraid to call up your doctor, even if it seems silly. When it comes to your health, its always better to be safe than sorry. Look out for:

Wash Your Feet Every Day

Do Diabetic Shoes Look Like Clown Shoes?

Wash your feet with soap in warm, not hot, water. Test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use a thermometer or your elbow to test the warmth of the water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get too dry.

After washing and drying your feet, put talcum powder or cornstarch between your toes. Skin between the toes tends to stay moist. Powder will keep the skin dry to help prevent an infection.

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What Does Foot Pain From Diabetes Feel Like

The most common symptoms of diabetes-related foot pain include:

  • Tingling. This is a pins and needles kind of sensation.

  • Pain or increased sensitivity. This is pain or sensitivity to what are normally not painful things. It could be pain from bed sheets brushing against your feet or feeling like certain socks are uncomfortable or painful to wear.

  • Numbness or weakness. Nerves help you feel, and they tell your muscles to work. When people tell me, I dont feel when I step on things or cut my feet, or they bring up that their legs often feel weak when they stand up, I begin to suspect nerve damage.

  • Cut and wounds heal slower. Healthy blood vessels carry immune cells to wounds to help fight infections and repair the damaged tissue. If blood circulation is poor, which can happen in diabetes, those wounds take longer to heal.

Diabetic Foot Discoloration Pictures

When we speak about diabetic foot such a symptom as foot discoloration should be mentioned. The color of skin on a foot or ankle can change and that is a reason to look for medical attention. The point is that the uncontrolled glucose results in losing fluid and the organism replaces water by urine in order to remove the sugar out of the blood. That makes the skin dry, red or yellow. In addition the small blood vessels providing the skin with blood get affected and lead to development of brown patches on the front of legs.

Vitiligo is often regarded as diabetic foot problems for patients suffering from the first type. It occurs when the particular cells are destroyed and discolored patches appear all over the body. Unfortunately vitiligo is not treated and requires special care like sunscreen when being in sun as far as the discolored areas are very sensitive and inclined to sunburn.

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What Does A Diabetic Ulcer On The Foot Look Like

If the ulcer is at an advanced stage, it should be obvious. A foot ulcer looks like a round red crater in the skin bordered by thickened callused skin. Severe ulcers can be deep enough to expose tendons or bones. However, other symptoms may not be easy to identify or could be an indication of another problem.

How Is A Diabetic Foot Ulcer Diagnosed And Treated

What is a diabetic foot ulcer?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine your foot and the ulcer. He or she may check your shoes. He or she may also send you to a podiatrist for treatment. The goal of treatment is to start healing your foot ulcer as soon as possible. The risk for infection decreases with faster healing. Do the following to help your ulcer heal:

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Signs Of Diabetic Foot Problems

Signs of Diabetic Foot Problems

With diabetes, there are a lot of foot problems that can arise due to the nature of the disease and its systemic effects. Especially when it comes to the foot and ankle, it is important to constantly be looking out for signs of diabetic progression.

  • Changes in skin color
  • Swelling in the foot or ankle
  • Pain in the legs
  • Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal or are draining
  • Ingrown toenails or toenails infected with fungus
  • Corns or calluses
  • Dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel
  • Foot odor that is unusual or wont go away

Complications of Diabetic Foot Problems

Skin and bone infections from ulcerations. A small cut or wound can lead to infections. Nerve and blood vessel damage, along immune system problems, make them more likely. Most infections happen in wounds previously treated with antibiotics. Infections can be treated with antibiotics. Severe cases may require treatment in a hospital.

Abscess. Sometimes infections eat into bones or tissue and create a pocket of pus called an abscess. The common treatment is to drain the abscess. It may require removal of some bone or tissue, but newer methods, like oxygen therapy, are less invasive.

Gangrene. Diabetes affects the blood vessels that supply your fingers and toes. When blood flow is cut off, tissue can die. Treatment is usually oxygen therapy or surgery to remove the affected area.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy

For sensory neuropathy:

For motor neuropathy:



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