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With 26 bones, 19 muscles and tendons, 33 joints, and more than 100 ligaments, your foot is an amazingly intricate structure. It’s no wonder that your foot is vulnerable to a range of stresses and injuries with so many moving parts. If your foot is aching, swelling, or difficult to walk on, you may need medical attention.

At Next Step Orthopedics in McKinney, Texas, Dr. Dominique Nickson specializes in all types of foot problems. In this blog, he explains some of the causes of foot pain and how you can know if yours is serious.

How many types of foot problems are there?

Dozens of conditions could be making your foot hurt. Here are some well-known foot problems:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Stress fracture
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Athlete’s foot

It’s important to note that people with diabetes should take special care of their feet. Let’s look closer at the unique concerns of diabetic foot problems.

How does diabetes affect your feet?

If you have diabetes, elevated blood sugar is especially hazardous for your feet because it can cause a couple of serious problems:

Peripheral arterial disease

A complication of diabetes is peripheral arterial disease, which can restrict the blood flow to your feet. This makes it difficult for sores to heal, decreases sensation in your feet, and weakens your pulse in your lower extremities.

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetes can damage your nerves and cause diabetic neuropathy, which is characterized by:

  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Inability to feel heat and cold
  • Insensitivity to pain
  • Loss of balance
  • Joint damage
  • Atrophy of muscle tone

Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy is progressive and worsens over time. If you have diabetes, Dr. Nickson recommends that you adopt this protocol to care for your feet:

  • Check your feet for problems each day
  • Dry your feet thoroughly after they’ve been wet
  • Manage your blood glucose
  • Wear shoes with ample toe room
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to ultra-high or ultra-low temperatures

You should also plan to see a podiatrist for a foot check-up at least one time each year.

When is foot pain serious?

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Persistent swelling
  • Chronic pain
  • Persistent numbness or tingling
  • An open wound
  • An infection
  • Tenderness and warmth in your foot accompanied by a fever

Of course, you should also reach out for care if you have suddenly lost the ability to walk or bear weight on your foot.

We are passionate about helping you safeguard your foot health so you can live an active life. Turn to our team to help you care for your feet. call us at (972) 547-0047 or book an appointment online.

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