Diabetic and Can't Feel Feet?

My husband has been a type 2 diabetic for over 30 years. We are now into our early 50’s. He hasn’t been able to feel the bottom of his feet for years. Someone could stab his foot and he would have no clue. He says it’s normal, I feel it’s not. Over the years I’ve often heard of people losing their limbs due to diabetes. This really worries me! What causes this to happen? Is there any type of preventative measures I can help my husband take with his feet so they do not get worse the older he gets?

arlenec October 18, 2019

Questions Answered by Leading Local Doctors

Michael Coyer, DPM
Irvine, Podiatrist

Numbness and loss of sensation in the feet is never normal. One of the most common causes of loss of sensation is diabetic neuropathy. This is a type of “nerve damage”, which can occur secondary to high blood sugar, as seen in diabetes. The nerves of the feet are most frequently affected, but progression to the hands is also not uncommon. Symptoms can range from mild, non-painful numbness to painful burning sensations. While common, diabetic neuropathy can be prevented or slowed with better blood glucose control, appropriate diet, and healthy activities.

Loss of sensation to the feet does increase the risk of open wounds, infection, and possibly amputation. Daily self foot examinations, avoidance of barefoot walking, appropriate shoes, and prompt evaluation of any changes to the lower extremities is important to prevent complications. Evaluation and assessment by a podiatrist has been showed to decrease risks of complication in diabetic patients.

Dr. Michael Coyer, DPM, AACFAS