Diabetes

Diabetes Leg Pain

Have you been experiencing pain in your leg of late? Are you a diabetic? If your answer to both the questions is YES, then chances are that you are experiencing diabetes leg pain. Diabetics are more prone to develop leg and foot problems. In people who haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, leg and foot pain can be the first symptoms.

Most people do not pay close attention to the cause or origin of the pain. They just pass it off as pain due to strenuous physical activity, exercise, improper sitting posture etc. Ignoring the pain can have some serious consequences. Diabetics who ignore leg pain, wound and ulcers on their legs or feet have a higher risk of having to undergo an amputation.

Read on to know more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes leg pain.

Causes

The most common causes of diabetes leg pain are:

  • Poor blood circulation in the legs
  • Arteriosclerosis (narrowing of the blood vessels)
  • Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage)

Proper blood circulation in the body is necessary for its functioning. Poor blood flow to any part of the body, including the legs has an effect on the normal functioning. Poor blood circulation in the legs also decreases the body’s natural ability to fight infection. Therefore, cuts or bruises on the legs or feet take a long time to heal and this gives chance for the infection to spread if proper care is not taken.

Arteriosclerosis causes narrowing of the blood vessels. Thus, the supply of oxygen rich blood to your legs is also reduced. This also causes pain in the legs, especially in the calf muscles.

Diabetes also causes damage to the nerves leading to pain, numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in hands, legs, arms and feet. Poor blood sugar control along with other factors leads to diabetic neuropathy.

Diagnosis

Pain in the legs and feet can occur due to various reasons. It is very important to know the actual cause of the pain in order to treat it effectively. Self-examination and diagnosis cannot be of much help. Diagnosing diabetes leg pain requires a full physical examination by a doctor or a health care provider.

If the doctor suspects the leg pain to be a result of diabetic neuropathy, a filament test is carried out. This test involves the use of a soft nylon filament which is touched to the feet to see whether the patient feels it or not.

Treatment

Depending on the cause of the pain, medications that provide relief from pain may be prescribed by your doctor. Anti-depressants are sometimes prescribed by the doctors.

Application of certain topical creams on the affected part of the legs also provides relief. Also, alternative treatments like acupuncture have proven to be helpful in relieving diabetes leg pain in some people.

Prevention

Some preventive measures are also helpful in keeping diabetes leg pain at bay. They include:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels in check.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Wear shoes that fit comfortably.
  • Take good care of your feet.
  • Wash your legs and feet regularly with water and soap.
  • Cut your toenails regularly and do not leave any sharp edges that may cut into your skin.
  • Visit a podiatrist or a doctor regularly to get your feet examined.

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