You probably know the more infamous signs of diabetes: frequent urination, extreme thirst, exhaustion, and unexplained weight loss. But some signs are a little more subtle.
Diabetic neuropathy is responsible for the nerve damage that often causes pain and numbness in diabetic feet. It can also cause gastrointestinal distress, muscle weakness, and eye complications depending on how the nerve damage manifests. Nerve damage may begin before any noticeable symptoms, or symptoms may be slight.
It’s best not to wait until symptoms become full blown to visit a doctor. Diabetes often starts without any noticeable symptoms, and damage to nerves can start well before an official diagnosis. It’s important to pay attention to your body and get any unusual symptoms checked out.
Especially if those symptoms start in the toes. A numb sensation around the toes may be an early warning sign of diabetes. Dr. Ronald Tamler, of the Mount Sinai Scientific Diabetes Institute, warns that for most people diabetes is “silent and insidious” and many don’t experience early warning signs—at least not enough to actually get them to the doctor.
“You might really feel an odd, electrical tingling in your toes, or have decreased sensation or decreased steadiness,” Dr. Tamler says. These early warning signs may be all a person gets to signal that something is off. It’s important that people be aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and the warning signs for both type 1 and type 2.
So even if you feel crazy, pay attention to your toes if you feel like something is off. It’s better to get something checked out than ignore a warning sign while a condition worsens. If you’re noticing strange tingling or numbness in the toes, unexplained pain, or wounds or blisters that heal slowly, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Neuropathy often starts at the feet, but the sooner it’s addressed the better outcomes a patient can expect.
So if you’re feeling a tingling in your toes… find out what your toes know! Stay healthy, friends!
Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.