It’s important to know how diabetes can affect your foot health, because your lower extremities run a higher risk of developing complications. That’s why when you have diabetes, taking care of your feet has to become a priority.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can cause problems. Two of the most common are:

Peripheral Neuropathy: Diabetes causes direct damage to nerves and blood vessels – specifically peripheral nerves. In addition to making your muscles less efficient, pain and a tingling or burning sensation in your feet can be expected. You may also have an overall loss of feeling in your feet, which means injuries are less likely to be noticed.

Peripheral Artery Disease: This is the indirect way diabetes can create complications. Basically, you experience a hardening of the arteries which either decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches the legs and feet, or it completely stops the oxygen flow. With less oxygen reaching the area, you’ll feel more pain. You can develop ulcers and, in the worst cases, the tissue in your legs and feet can start to die.

Diabetes is often treatable, but it’s imperative that no matter how serious your condition, you keep a close eye on your lower extremities so that when complications do arise, you’ll be able to get the treatment you need before too much damage is done.