Healthy feet: Nerve damage and numbness
Some people with diabetes have trouble feeling their feet, or they experience strange burning or tingling sensations. This results from damage to the long nerves that extend from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of the body. Damage to these long nerves, known as peripheral neuropathy, is the most commonly reported nerve damage among people with diabetes.
Nerve damage can't be reversed, but it can be prevented. Healthy lifestyle changes and careful control of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels can slow the progression of nerve damage and may improve symptoms.
Diabetic foot is a dangerous loss of sensation in the feet caused by damage to the nervous system. Often, this loss of sensation can lead to a diabetic foot sufferer not noticing wounds or injuries in the foot, which can lead to additional damage or infection.
What does it feel like?
What should I know about peripheral neuropathy?
Sometimes, it's diagnosed with prediabetes. Though not very common, some complain of numbness in their feet — a symptom of peripheral neuropathy — before diabetes has developed when glucose levels are high but are not yet in the diabetic range, a condition called prediabetes.
There are several ways to diagnose it. A simple test involves seeing whether the people can feel vibrations or sharp sensations in the feet. A more sophisticated test, called a nerve conduction study, measures how well the nerves convey information from the brain to the feet.