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Diabetic leg pain- should I be concerned?

venous ulcer , diabetic foot ulcer , ulcer , leg ulcer ,

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life.

If you are diabetic and if you experience leg pain, you must know that it is not a matter to be overlooked. Majority of diabetic patients have high risk of vascular diseases.

A 40-year-old was recently diagnosed with diabetes. He started feeling pain in his legs which kept him awake all night. Gradually, he stopped the routine exercises and activities which he had once enjoyed. A visit to his primary care physician confirmed that he was experiencing diabetic leg pain, an early warning sign of a serious Vein problem called Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). He was later referred to a vascular specialist.

Leg pain and cramps is a kind of complication from diabetes that arise from nerve damage called ‘diabetic neuropathy’. This can be due to the long-term high blood sugar level in diabetic patients which damage the blood vessels. The muscles of your foot may not work properly because nerves to the muscles are damaged. This could cause your foot to not align properly and create too much pressure on one part of your foot.

Diabetic foot complications

Foot ulcers

Untreated minor cuts in diabetic patients eventually lead to the formation of foot ulcers as the peripheral sensation is lost. If diagnosed early, foot ulcers are treatable.

Diabetic ulcers are the most common foot injuries that lead to lower extremity amputation. It is reported that the risk of lower extremity amputation is 15 to 46 times higher in diabetics than in people who do not have diabetes mellitus. Foot related complications are the most frequent reason for hospitalization in diabetic patients.

Foot infections

Micro vascular diseases, in association with neuropathy and related lack of sensation, predisposes diabetic patients to foot infections that range from simple infections to cellulitis and chronic osteomyelitis. Most infections occur in wounds treated previously with antibiotics.


Sometimes infections eat into bones or tissue and create a pocket of pus called as an abscess. The most common and effective treatment is to drain the abscess which may necessitate the removal of some bone or tissue. However, less invasive methods like oxygen therapy are currently available.


When the damaged nerves in your body along with an inefficient blood flow make it more likely for a patient to not feel pain, or any sensation in their feet, hands, or legs, a cut or sore on his feet may not be felt until infection sets in.

Consequences can be life- threatening and can lead to amputation or even death.

Peripheral vascular diseases

When diabetes affects the blood flow, it takes longer for a wound or a cut to heal. If it turns infectious, you are at higher risk of developing gangrene (tissue death due to lack of blood).

Visit a doctor right away if you develop a sore on your foot as the likelihood of infection increases the longer you wait and more chronic it becomes.

Treatment for diabetes focuses on closely monitoring your blood glucose level, as your chances of complications remain low when your blood sugar is stable. Diabetes related foot problems can be managed effectively by proper foot care which include washing feet regularly, maintaining dry and moisturized feet, and wearing well fitted shoes.

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