Nutrition & Wound Healing

Nutrition & Healing
Nutrition & Healing
Nutrition & Healing

Diabetic neuropathy and the health of your legs and feet

Peripheral diabetic neuropathy risks, symptoms, and care tips

Diabetic neuropathy describes a type of nerve damage that affects as many as 50% of people with diabetes. Most often, it damages nerves in the legs and feet.

The most common type of neuropathy for people with diabetes is called peripheral neuropathy. This neuropathy usually affects the feet and legs first, and then the hands and arms. If you’re experiencing any of these signs or symptoms in your hands or feet, it may be due to peripheral neuropathy1:


  • It’s more difficult for you to feel pain or changes in temperature
  • You’re dealing with sharp pains or cramping
  • Muscles seem weaker

  • Nerve damage is causing a sensitivity to touch

  • You’re suffering from a tingling or burning sensation

  • You start to experience foot ulcers, infections, or bone and joint damage

Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following1:


  • You notice a cut or sore on your foot that doesn’t seem to be healing
  • A burning or tingling in your feet or hands keeps you from performing normal activities or disturbs your sleep
  • Your digestion, urination, or sexual function has been affected
  • You feel dizzy and/or you’ve fainted

The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of developing diabetic neuropathy. These are some risk factors that can make nerve damage more likely:


  • Uncontrolled blood sugar
  • Kidney disease
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking

How to delay or help reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy


Closely monitor and control your blood glucose levels to help reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy. Additionally, take good care of your feet, including2:


  • Check your feet daily
  • Don’t go barefoot
  • Make sure to wash your feet every day
  • Wear shoes that fit well
  • Trim toenails straight across
  • Don’t remove corns and calluses yourself
  • Keep the blood flowing by wiggling your toes several times throughout the day
  • Choose feet-friendly activities like walking, riding a bike, or swimming


For more ways to delay or help reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy, please consult your doctor.

References: 1. Mayo Clinic website. Accessed November 7, 2022. 2. CDC website. Accessed November 22, 2022.